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Step One

Try the Western approach
Your first step, not surprisingly, will be to take the pain reliever of your choice. (If aspirin is your choice, don't, as some may suggest to you, crush the tablet and apply the powder directly on the tooth. Aspirin will create a burning sensation on your gums, and can corrode the enamel on your teeth as well). Since the painkiller will take some time to take effect, try the following in the meantime:

  • Numb the pain. Apply an ice pack on your cheek--line it up with the aching tooth inside your mouth. Especially if you have an infection, this will reduce swelling and discomfort in the area. Some toothaches aren't caused by infection; they respond well to moist heat and worsen with cold. If cold seems to intensify the pain in the tooth (and doesn't just feel unpleasantly cold on your cheek) then try a hot water bottle, a heat pack, or a hot water bottle.
  • Soak a piece of cotton with oil of cloves, and pack it on a tooth (works especially well for cavities).
  • Don't make it any worse. There are a number of factors that exacerbate tooth pain; if you've had your fill of toothache and you'd like it to stop, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid drinking or eating any substances that might irritate the tooth. For example, foods or drinks that are either very hot or very cold, or contain sugar, or require a lot of crunching or chewing. Gum is also best avoided, even if it's sugar-free. If you're seeing a dentist that day, consider not eating at all until you've had a chance to meet. No food?!? Unless it's baby-food consistency, any food is bound to irritate the situation and should be avoided if the pain is severe.
  • Gargle. In the meantime, make a saltwater gargle out of a pint (.5 liter) of clean water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (about 10-15 mg) of salt. This will keep the area clean and may flush out any problem-causing bacteria.

Homeopathy: a 200-year-old school of medical theory and practice that tries to work with the symptoms of the body, rather than suppress them.

Enamel: the hard exterior of the tooth that's the first line of defense against tooth decay.

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