6 Best Remedies To Get Rid Of a Toothache

Dr. Clarisse Bezerra
About the author: Dr. Clarisse Bezerra
Family Doctor
April 2021

Toothache medication such as local anesthetics, anti-inflammatory medications, and analgesics can help to relieve pain and local inflammatory responses, which means they are usually a good pain relief solution, especially when the wisdom teeth are coming through.

If, however, the toothache persists for more than two days after taking pain medication, it's recommended you visit a dentist and get your tooth looked at and treated, which may mean taking antibiotics in the case of infection. Also, it's important to remember that medication should always be used under the supervision of a medical doctor.

The main medications that can be used to treat toothaches are:

1. Local anesthetics 

Local anesthetics for toothaches act directly on the tooth nerves allowing for quick relief. These include:  

  • Benzocaine gel: the recommended dose is 0.5 g for pain relief, and the maximum dose per day is 2 g;
  • Lidocaine topical: the recommended dose is 1 to 5 grams for pain relief, and the maximum dose per day is 20 g.

One form of using benzocaine gel or lidocaine lotion is applying the recommended dose on a clean swab and then place it on the tooth that is hurting.

Local anesthetics can be bought at pharmacies and drugstores, however, it is always recommended you visit a dentist before buying them as anesthetics should not be taken by pregnant women, people who have allergies to anesthetics, people who take medication for heart arrhythmias, or medication for high blood pressure.

2. Paracetamol

Paracetamol is an analgesic that can be used for mild or moderate toothache. Recommended paracetamol doses for toothaches are: 

  • Paracetamol 500 capsules:  the recommended dose for adults is one to two capsules, three to four times a day, before or after meals. The maximum dose per day is eight 500 mg capsules;
  • Paracetamol 750 capsules:  the recommended dose for adults is one pill, three to five times a day, before and after meals. The maximum daily dose is five 750 mg capsules;
  • Paracetamol drops: the recommended dose for adults is 35 to 55 drops, every four to six hours, in a 24 hour period. The maximum dose per day is 275 drops taken in doses divided into a maximum of 55 drops.

Paracetamol can be bought without a prescription, however, we recommend you check with your dentist before buying paracetamol, as it should not be used by those who have liver or kidney diseases or paracetamol allergy. 

3. Dipyrone

Dipyrone is another analgesic you can take if you have mild or moderate toothache. The recommended dipyrone doses are: 

  • Dipyrone 500 capsules: the recommended dose for adults is one to two pills up to four times a day;
  • Dipyrone 500 mg/mL oral solution:  the recommended dose for adults is 20 to 40 drops per day, at a maximum of four times a day.

Dipyrone is contraindicated in babies younger than three months old, or that weigh less than eleven pounds, pregnant women in the first three or last three months of pregnancy, and people who have allergic reactions to dipyrone.

4. Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication for toothache that reduces the production of substances that cause inflammation and it also works as an analgesic, reducing tooth pain. 

You can buy this anti-inflammatory medication in the form of capsules and the recommended dose for toothache is one to two 200 mg capsules every eight hours, after meals. The maximum dose per day is 3.200 mg which corresponds to five capsules a day.

Ibuprofen should not be used by people who have an allergy to ibuprofen or by those who have gastritis, gastric ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, asthma, or rhinitis. Ideally, you should visit a dentist or GP who can help you use ibuprofen safely.

In addition, ibuprofen should not be used by pregnant or lactating women, and babies younger than six months old. 

5. Naproxen

Naproxen, as well as ibuprofen, is an anti-inflammatory medication that works as an analgesic and so it can be used for realiving a toothache. It can be found in the form of tablets in two different doses that include:

  • Naproxen 250 tablets:  the recommended dose for adults is one 250 mg tablet, one to two times a day. The maximum dose is two 250 mg tablets.
  • Naproxen 500 tablets: the recommended dose for adults is one 500 mg tablet, once a day. The maximum dose is one 500 mg tablet.

Naproxen should be avoided by people who have done heart surgery, pregnant or lactating women, children younger than two years old, and people with stomach conditions such as gastritis or gastric ulcers. 

It's important to visit a dentist or a GP before taking Naproxen so that he can assess whether it's safe for you to take.

6. Acetylsalicylic acid

Acetylsalicylic acid, better known as Aspirin, is an anti-inflammatory medication that can also be used for toothache as it reduces the production of inflammatory substances, as well as having an analgesic effect, which reduces the pain. You can buy Aspirin as 500 mg tablets and the recommended dose for adults is one tablet every four hours or two tablets every eight hours, after meals. You should not have more than eight tablets a day.

Aspirin should not be taken by pregnant women, children under the age of 12, or people with GI conditions, such as gastritis, colitis, ulcers, or bleeding. In addition, people who regularly use Aspirin as an anticoagulant or warfarin should not have Aspirin for toothache.

This anti-inflammatory medication is sold in pharmacies and drugstores and although you can buy it without a medical prescription, it's recommend you check with a dentist to guarantee safe use.

Remedies for toothache during pregnancy 

In case of toothache during pregnancy, the only recommended medication is paracetamol, which is used a lot in pregnancy to relieve aches and pains. However, it is always recommend that you speak to your obstetrician to supervise you in taking it safely and according to the correct doses during pregnancy.

Home remedies for toothaches 

Some home remedies can help to relieve toothaches such as cloves, mint, or garlic, as they have analgesic or anti-inflammatory properties.

When to go to the dentist

While it is recommend you visit a dentist every time you have a toothache, and before using any kind of medication, there are some situations that require more attention, which include:

  • Pain that does not improve after two days;
  • Fever over 100.4ºF (38ºC);
  • Infection symptoms such as swelling, redness, or changes in taste;
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.

When a toothache is not treated properly it can cause infections and you may need to take antibiotics. So, if you do not improve with medication, visit a dentist and start suitable treatment.

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About the author:
Dr. Clarisse Bezerra
Family Doctor
Dr. Bezerra possesses a medical degree and specializes in family medicine. She is licensed to practice under CRM-CE licence #16976.