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Some remedies, such as local anesthetics, anti-inflammatories and analgesics are a good option to relieve toothache, as they are able to act at the pain site, creating an anesthetic action or decreasing inflammation.
However, this type of medicine does not treat the cause of the toothache, especially if there is an infection, which causes the symptoms to be alleviated, but the inflammation continues to worsen. Thus, the medicines should only be used with the doctor's guidance or when there is no suspicion of a more serious problem, as happens in the birth of wisdom teeth.
In cases where the pain is very intense or does not improve after 2 days, even with the use of the medication, it is advisable to consult a dentist to evaluate the affected tooth and start the most appropriate treatment, which may include the use of antibiotics, for example.
The main remedies that can be used to treat toothache are:
1. Local anesthetics
Local anesthetics indicated for toothache act at the site of pain, temporarily decreasing local sensitivity, such as:
- Benzocaine gel 200 mg/g (Benzotop): the recommended dose is 0.5 g of the gel to relieve pain, with the maximum dose per day being 2 g;
- Lidocaine ointment 50 mg/g (Xylocaine): the recommended dose is 1 to 5 g of the ointment to relieve pain, with the maximum dose per day being 20 g.
One way to use benzocaine gel or lidocaine ointment is to put the recommended dose on clean gauze and apply it to the tooth that has pain.
Local anesthetics can be purchased at pharmacies and drugstores, however, it is recommended to consult the dentist before buying, as these anesthetics should not be used by those who are allergic to anesthesia, by pregnant women, by people who use heart arrhythmia medications such as amiodarone or high blood pressure medications such as atenolol, propranolol or carvedilol, for example.
In addition to gel and ointment anesthetics, there are also anesthetics that can be infiltrated directly into the pain site, acting directly on nerve fibers and changing local sensitivity in a short time. However, this type of anesthetic should only be applied by the dentist and is normally used during procedures.
Paracetamol is a pain reliever that can be used for mild to moderate toothache and can be found in the form of tablets or drops. The doses of paracetamol that can be used for toothache are:
- Paracetamol 500 mg film-coated tablet: The recommended dose for adults is 1 to 2 tablets, 3 to 4 times a day, before or after meals. The maximum dose per day is 8 tablets of paracetamol 500 mg;
- Paracetamol 750 mg film-coated tablet: The recommended dose for adults is 1 tablet 3 to 5 times a day, before or after meals. The maximum dose per day is 5 tablets of paracetamol 750 mg;
- Paracetamol drops: the recommended dose for adults is 35 to 55 drops, every 4 to 6 hours, within 24 hours. The maximum daily dose of paracetamol is 275 drops taken in divided doses of a maximum of 55 drops.
Paracetamol can be purchased over-the-counter, however, it is recommended that you consult your dentist before purchasing as it should not be used by anyone with liver or kidney disease or allergy to acetaminophen.
Dipyrone is another analgesic indicated for mild to moderate toothache and can be found in the form of a tablet or a solution in drops. The recommended doses of dipyrone are:
- Dipyrone 500 mg tablet: the recommended dose for adults is 1 to 2 tablets up to 4 times a day;
- Dipyrone oral solution 500 mg/mL: the recommended dose for adults is 20 to 40 drops a day, up to 4 times a day.
Dipyrone is contraindicated for babies under 3 months of age or weighing less than 5 kg, in the first 3 and last 3 months of pregnancy, and for people who are allergic to dipyrone.
Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory indicated for the relief of toothache that acts by reducing the production of substances that cause inflammation and also acts as an analgesic, reducing toothache.
This anti-inflammatory can be found in tablet form and the dose used for toothache is 1 or 2 tablets of 200 mg every 8 hours, after meals. The maximum dose per day is 3,200 mg which corresponds to up to 5 tablets per day.
Ibuprofen should not be used by people who are allergic to ibuprofen and in cases of gastritis, gastric ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding, asthma or rhinitis. Ideally, consult your dentist to ensure the safe use of ibuprofen.
Furthermore, ibuprofen should not be used by pregnant or nursing women and infants younger than 6 months of age.
Naproxen, like ibuprofen, is an anti-inflammatory that has analgesic action, which acts to reduce toothache. It can be found in tablet form in two different doses which include:
- Naproxen 250 mg film-coated tablets: The recommended dose for adults is 1 tablet of 250 mg, 1 to 2 times a day. The maximum dose per day is 2 tablets of 250 mg.
- Naproxen 500 mg film-coated tablets: The recommended adult dose is 1 tablet of 500mg once a day. The maximum dose per day is 1 tablet of 500 mg.
Naproxen is contraindicated for people who have already had heart surgery, pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 2 years of age and in cases of stomach diseases such as gastritis or gastric ulcer.
It is important to consult your dentist before taking naproxen so that any contraindications to its use can be evaluated.
6. Acetylsalicylic acid
Acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin, is an anti-inflammatory that can be used for toothache because it reduces the production of substances that cause inflammation, in addition to having analgesic action reducing pain. It can be found in the form of 500 mg tablets and the recommended dose for adults is 2 tablets every 8 hours or 1 tablet every 4 hours after eating. You should not take more than 8 tablets a day.
Aspirin should not be used by pregnant women, children under 12 years of age or people with stomach or intestinal problems such as gastritis, colitis, ulcers or bleeding. Also, people who regularly use aspirin as a blood thinner or warfarin should not take aspirin for the treatment of toothache.
This anti-inflammatory is sold in pharmacies and drugstores and can be purchased without a prescription, however, it is advisable to consult your dentist to ensure safe use.
The use of antibiotics to relieve toothache is indicated in cases in which the existence of an infection has been confirmed by the dentist, requiring the use of this type of medication to promote the elimination of the infectious agent and thus relieve symptoms and prevent complications.
For this reason, it is important to be aware of other symptoms such as swelling, stiffening of some part of the mouth, presence of pus, bad breath and severe pain in the tooth, as they can be indicative of infection.
Medicine that can be taken during pregnancy
In the case of toothache in pregnancy, the only recommended remedy is paracetamol, which is an analgesic widely used during pregnancy to relieve pain. However, it is recommended to contact the obstetrician who provides prenatal care to ensure safe use and the correct dose during pregnancy.
Home remedies for toothache
Some home remedies can help relieve toothache like cloves, mint or garlic, for example, as they have analgesic or anti-inflammatory properties. Check out all the options for home remedies to relieve toothache.
In addition, in case of toothache, it is recommended to avoid the consumption of very hot or very cold drinks or foods, as they can increase the sensation of pain. It is also not recommended to consume very hard foods or chew gum, as they can worsen the pain and increase the risk of breaking the tooth.
When to go to the dentist
It is recommended to consult the dentist whenever a toothache arises, however, situations that need more attention include:
- Pain that does not improve after 2 days;
- Emergence of fever above 38ºC;
- Development of symptoms of infection, such as swelling, redness, or changes in taste;
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
When toothache is not treated properly, it can cause infection, requiring antibiotics. Therefore, if there is no improvement with the use of medicines for toothache, one should consult the dentist and undergo the most appropriate treatment.