A severe toothache usually indicates an infection or exposure of the nerve of the tooth or gum.
A mouthwash with fluoride as a primary ingredient (ACT is a common brand) can be used if the pain is more of a sensitivity rather than “throbbing or pounding”. Rinse for 30 seconds, and do not rinse with water afterwards.
For more severe pain a rinse with hydrogen peroxide can bring some temporary relief. Motrin and advil are more effective for dental pain than Tylenol and Aspirin due to the swelling reduction properties. Icing the area either from the cheeks or the surrounding gum area can also reduce the symptoms until you can be treated in the office.
Do NOT place aspirin directly on the gums or tooth, it is an old-wive’s tale and does not work. Neither does placing a garlic under your pillow.
Loosened Tooth (Extrusion)
If a tooth is pushed inward or outward and becomes loose, gently reposition it using light finger pressure. Do not force the tooth. Stablize the tooth with a moist tissue or gauze and make an emergency appointment right away.
Rinse the mouth with warm water to keep it clean. If possible, locate the tooth fragment, clean and transport it in the same fashion as a knocked-out tooth. Schedule an emergency appointment immediately, it sometimes is possible to reattach the fragment.
Soft Tissue Injury
A soft tissue injury is when the tongue, lips or cheeks are cut or punctured. If there is bleeding, apply firm pressure with gauze or a clean cloth. If bleeding is profuse or does not stop within 15 minutes, schedule an emergency appointment or proceed to a hospital emergency room as stitches may be necessary. Otherwise, clean the area with warm water using a gauze or clean cloth and apply an ice compress to the bruised/swollen area. Avoid using mouthwashes until evaluated.