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My Tooth Hurts. What to Do Until the Dentist Opens?

What Can I Do With a Broken Tooth Until My Dentist’s Office Opens?

Tooth pain can distract you from pretty much anything going on in your day – and having tooth pain outside of your dentist’s office hours can be a helpless and hopeless experience.  Knowing what to do to minimize your discomfort is necessary to enjoy your life and preserve your oral health.

If you find yourself unable to see a dentist or unwilling to pay for expensive emergency dental visits, there are steps that you can take to reduce your immediate dental discomfort.  

Understanding the reason for your tooth pain may help to lessen the discomfort you are feeling.  Did you have a blow to the mouth or face?  Were you biting on food or ice and experiencing sharp pain?  Is there swelling or inflammation in your gums?  Is your affected tooth intact?  Knowing the circumstances surrounding the discomfort can help you in knowing what to do.

If you believe that the discomfort you are experiencing is due to displaced food lodged in between your teeth, you may wish to gently floss the affected area.  Do so as lightly as possible, however, as aggressive flossing may cause further irritation, inflammation, and pain.

Another option that may provide relief is a warm salt water rinse.  A warm salt solution can actually provide a soothing and anti-bacterial element to dental discomfort, and allow you to swish away harmful bacteria in order to promote a healthier environment.

To create the proper mix of salt-to-water, heat ½ c. water to a hot, tea-like temperature add 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved.  Gently swish the mixture in generous mouthfuls, allowing it to remain in the area of the tooth pain for several seconds.  Spit out the water and repeat 2-3 more times.  Do not swallow the saltwater solution.  If you choose to rinse with clear water afterward to get rid of the salty taste, be sure to again use warm water so as not to shock your damaged, painful tooth and cause further discomfort.

If you have experienced an impact or have swelling in the area, place a wrapped cold pack (or even a bag of frozen vegetables!) against your cheek, closest to the painful tooth.  Holding a compress like this against the area can help reduce swelling, muscle spasms, and throbbing, and may numb any pain you are feeling.  If there is any bleeding of the gums, a cold compress application can also reduce any bleeding and help in clotting.

Following the cold compress, you can apply warm, moist heat for additional comfort, if you desire.  Alternating cold and hot in this way may help to reduce discomfort caused by a toothache because it increases the flow of blood to the area, which in turn reduces any buildup of fluid in the surrounding tissues. 

For persistent pain or throbbing, you may wish to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or other common NSAIDs. Always be careful to take these with food.  If you have a sensitive gastric system, avoid NSAIDs altogether.  Always follow the advice of a pharmacist and read the instructions on the packaging for dosage and frequency to alleviate your discomfort.

Remember that the best way to care for your teeth is proper daily dental care.  Brush and floss each day, pay special attention to areas of concern and keep routine appointments with your professional dental team at Odin House Dental Surgery.  Together, we will keep your smile in the best condition possible!

About Odin House Dental

Creating an Excellent Patient Experience…

Over the last two decades, Odin House Dental Surgery has been proud to serve the suburb of Innaloo and has grown to include 10 dentists, three oral health therapists, and 10 support staff. We have eight surgery rooms, a sterilisation room, a laboratory (where we make your mouthguards, whitening trays, and models) as well as two waiting rooms which include a small play area for children. We also have a unique “special room” complete with a massage chair, large screen TV, and even X Box!

Our dentists are all members of the Australian Dental Association and are local to Perth, so it would be no surprise if you have seen us out and about in the community.

Odin House Dental Surgery
Suite 3/8 Odin Rd
Innaloo WA 6018

Phone Numbers:
Office: (08) 9468 7182

Office Hours:
Mon: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tues: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thur: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Fri: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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