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A toothache is pain that is caused by irritation of the nerves in the center of your tooth. The irritation may be caused by several problems, such as a cavity, an infection, a cracked tooth, or gum disease. It is very important to follow up with your dentist so the cause of your toothache can be diagnosed and treated. This can help prevent more serious problems.



You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs decrease swelling and pain. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Pain medicine may be given as a pill or as medicine that you put directly on your tooth or gums. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Antibiotics help fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Take them as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your dentist as directed:

You may be referred to a dental surgeon. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water 4 times a day or as directed.
  • You may need to eat soft foods to help relieve pain caused by chewing.

Contact your dentist if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have swelling in your face or neck.
  • You have a fever and chills.
  • You have trouble speaking or swallowing.
  • You have trouble opening or closing your mouth.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.