What pain reliever can I take for my toothache?

If you are experiencing a tooth ache, it is best to visit your dentist to determine the cause. Taking pain medication, using ice packs or other home remedies may only offer temporary relief. Your dentist may then prescribe ibuprofen or aspirin or other treatment, dependent upon the problem. 
The most important thing to do is have the tooth examined to find out why it hurts. If there’s an infection, pain medication won’t make that go away and it could spread to cause more problems. That said, over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin can all reduce the pain, but none of these treats the cause. If these medications are not working for then pain, this is another sign that an infection may be present. The infection may be from a large cavity in the tooth or may be in the gum and bone around the tooth. These situations require examination and treatment of the infected area by a dentist, who will then recommend the appropriate medications for pain and infection while the area heals.
One of the best over-the-counter pain relievers for dental pain is ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). Other pain relievers effective for dental pain include naproxen (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Always check with your doctor if you can safely take any new medication, and see you dentist for evaluation and treatment of dental pain as soon as possible.
When you have a toothache, an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help ease discomfort (but never put aspirin against the gums near the toothache, as this may burn the gum tissue). Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can ease gum swelling. A topical anesthetic may also help. Ask your pharmacist to recommend one.

Even if a pain reliever alleviates your symptoms, you should still see a dentist. Pain can sometimes indicate the presence of an infection. The earlier you seek treatment, the easier and more successful that treatment will be. An untreated infection can ultimately cause many health problems and can even prove life-threatening -- so see your dentist as soon as possible.

Continue Learning about Dental Emergency

How to Deal with 4 Common Dental Emergencies
How to Deal with 4 Common Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. Here’s how to handle four of the most common mishaps you may confront. Emergency: Chipped or crac...
Read More
Should I call the dentist for a broken tooth?
If you break a tooth, call your dentist immediately. This is particularly important if a signifi...
More Answers
Can I prevent my child swimmer from having a dental emergency?
Teach your children to follow the rules of the pool: No running near the swimming pool No divi...
More Answers
What tooth fractures are most serious?
Philip M. Uffer, DDSPhilip M. Uffer, DDS
The ones that render the tooth non-savable. If the fracture is very far below the gumline or spli...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.