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.
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.

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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.