For many adults, learning how to manage tooth abscess pain is something that they would prefer to live without. However, tooth pain is a common ailment that many of us will likely experience at some point in our lives. The purpose of our article is to help teach you how to effectively deal with this pain, and to explain what a tooth abscess is.
What Is A Tooth Abscess?
Before teaching you how to manage tooth abscess pain, we’re going to focus on explaining what an abscessed tooth is. An abscessed tooth is a type of infection that typically occurs in or around the pulp of your tooth.
This can occur for a wide range of different reasons. However, the most common cause is poor brushing and flossing habits. In rare instances, it may also be related to crowding and other issues that can lead to food debris getting stuck in hard to reach areas.
Another potential cause for an abscessed tooth is a broken or cracked filling. Once it’s open, debris can enter the tooth, where it eventually leads to an infection. Certain periodontal conditions can also lead to tooth abscesses, the most common being untreated periodontitis that has advanced to the later stages.
With this in mind, the best pain relief for tooth abscess is to prevent them from forming in the first place. If you’re already in pain and are looking for quick relief, continue reading to explore our tips.
How To Manage Tooth Abscess Pain: 8 Simple Steps
1. Contact Your Dentist
While this one isn’t designed to address the pain, it’s very important that you contact your dentist as soon as possible. The reason for this is that tooth abscesses can lead to serious complications when left untreated. In some cases, the infection can spread to your jaw and the surrounding tissue. Your dentist will likely want to set up an appointment as soon as possible to correct the abscess.
2. Avoid Sugary Beverages
Sugary beverages are definitely something that you should avoid when you have a tooth abscess. The reason is that sugar is fairly acidic and can actually make the abscess worse. High acidic items like fruit juice should also be avoided since they can further accelerate the demineralization process and cause more pain.
3. Keep Things Mild
Different temperature extremes can also cause increased pain and sensitivity for your tooth abscess. The reason for this is that your nerves are likely exposed around the pulp of the affected tooth. When in doubt, allow time for your food to cool and opt for water without ice. Beverages like coffee should likely be avoided altogether until the abscess is repaired by your dentist.
4. Consider a Warm Salt Water Rinse
Salt is a natural antimicrobial agent that can help speed healing. Flushing with warm salt water also has the added benefit of helping to dislodge stuck food particles that can sometimes further aggravate your abscess. The recommended frequency to use a salt water rinse is typically two to three times a day. To prepare your rinse, you simply need to put a half a teaspoon or so of salt in a cup of water. Swish it around vigorously for 30 seconds to a minute and then spit it out completely.
5. Don’t Forget the Floss
While it may sound counterproductive to floss around an abscessed tooth, it actually helps to remove food particles and other debris that could be further irritating the area. The most important thing to remember is that you should only use a gentle sawing motion. You should never attempt to force the floss down since this could further damage your delicate gum tissue.
If you’re concerned about reaching areas in the back of your mouth, consider using one of the various flossing tools that you can find at your local store or online, such as the Flossaid Dental Floss Holder. These typically feature an ergonomic handle with a small piece of floss stretched taut for easier maneuverability.
6. Consider Temporary Tooth Filling
If your abscess is the result of a crown falling out, opting for temporary tooth filling can often significantly reduce the pain. These products are generally safe to use and can be purchased at most grocery stores and online retailers.
Just remember to always follow the directions on the packaging. Most tooth fillings are meant to be applied liberally to the tooth’s surface. The goal is to create a basic seal to help prevent more debris from entering the tooth. Just remember to brush and floss thoroughly before applying these products. In most cases, you also have to avoid eating and drinking for a specific period of time while the temporary filling cures.
7. Angle Your Head During Sleep
Believe it or not, sleeping with your head at a slight incline can often help to relieve tooth abscess pain. The reason for this is that it helps to relieve pressure from the area and also helps to encourage natural drainage. While not a permanent solution, it’s a great way to help relieve the pain and make you more comfortable while you prepare to sleep.
8. Opt for Pain Medication
If you’re looking for severe tooth abscess pain relief, pain medication may be your best bet. The exact type of pain medicine that works for you will likely vary based on the severity of the pain and your personal medical history.
In most cases, NSAIDs will be your best bet. This includes medicine like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Non-NSAID medicines like acetaminophen can also sometimes be used. Most dentist will recommend against taking aspirin since it can cause the bleeding to worsen in severe cases.
For more localized relief, there are several different topical analgesic sprays you can use. The majority of these use a lidocaine-based ingredient to help numb the area. While this can be an effective temporary fix, it’s important to note that many people are allergic to this type of medication.
At this point in our article, you should have a basic understanding of how to manage tooth abscess pain. Just remember to keep our tips in mind and to discuss things with your dentist as soon as possible. If there are any other tips on how to manage tooth abscess pain that you feel are worth mentioning, feel free to tell us about them in the comments area.