Dental Tips |5 min read

How to Stop a Toothache Fast with Home Remedies

Toothache? Get out of pain with these tips!

Tooth pain always occurs when you least expect it. Like when you’re out for dinner with your significant other or having a pleasant holiday with your family.

In an ideal world, you’d see your dentist as soon as possible.


Toothaches are a sign something is wrong.

Your dentist will find the source of your misery, provide treatment, and end the pain for good.

But what happens if you’re not in town? Or it’s the middle of the night, and you’re in severe pain?!

Keep reading! Below you’ll find:

Need an emergency dentist in Cedar Rapids, IA? Call Dental Arts Dr. Deb Cassill at (319) 377-6504.

Follow the 3-3-3 method for tooth pain

To reduce tooth pain, you have to control the swelling. When you reduce swelling, you’ll reduce pain.

One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation short term is the 3-3-3 method.

With this strategy, you take three Advil (600 mg total) three times a day for three days.

What makes this method so effective is sticking with it. So don’t back off once you start to get pain relief. Otherwise, the inflammation will come back, and so will the pain.

But you must remember:

This method is temporary. And it won’t address the root cause of your tooth pain.

Whatever’s causing the pain needs to be addressed, which means you need to visit the dentist as soon as possible.

If you’re still experiencing pain, speak with your doctor about adding ibuprofen to your pain-fighting regimen.

Schedule an Appointment

Natural remedies for toothaches

If you can’t take Advil, don’t worry. There are several natural methods that’ll help minimize pain.

1. Saltwater rinse

We recommend using this rinse whenever you have gum pain or a foreign body like a sesame seed stuck between your gums.

It’ll reduce inflammation and help the tissues contract.

How to use saltwater for a toothache:

  1. Pour a glass of warm to hot water and slowly stir in Himalayan or Dead Sea salt (stick to fine grain or extra-fine grain)
  2. Allow time for the salt to dissolve
  3. Then swish around the solution in your mouth
  4. Spit it out
  5. Repeat up to four or five times a day

2. Clove oil

If you haven’t started working with essential oils, now is a good time to give it a try.

Clove oil can help with pain relief and is as strong as benzocaine.

Its active ingredient is eugenol, which occurs in nature but should be used with some caution.

Where can you buy clove oil?

You can find clove oil at your local health food store or in the organic section of your supermarket.

How to use clove oil for toothache:

  • Apply a small amount to a cotton swab (one or two drops max)
  • Apply it gently to the inflamed area. This method will help if the tooth nerve is exposed because of a deep cavity
  • Make sure you’re only placing it on the pulpal tissue or the inner substance of the tooth (otherwise, it won’t help)

3. Use a pillow

Lying down drops your head to the same level as your heart, which changes the blood supply to your head.

But elevating your head will help:

  • Reduce and prevent swelling
  • Reduce pain and prevent it from getting worse

When you lie down, elevate your head with a wedge-shaped pillow or by stacking multiple pillows.

4. Cold compresses

Do not apply heat to a toothache. It may draw out the infection and cause more swelling and pain.


Apply a cold compress to keep pain from increasing and reduce swelling.

If you don’t have an ice pack around, try these alternatives:

  • Ziploc bag with half water and half ice
  • Bag of frozen vegetables against the outside

What causes a toothache?

Common causes of toothaches include:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Abscessed tooth (bacterial infection inside the tooth)
  • Inflammed pulp (the inside of a tooth that contains sensitive nerve endings)
  • Broken tooth
  • Damaged filling
  • Infected gums
  • Impacted tooth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Objects caught between teeth or in gums (popcorn is a big culprit)

Regardless of the cause, the most important thing you need to know is:

Toothaches are often signs of a more serious dental issue.

If left untreated, it can lead to irreversible damage like tooth loss and require more costly procedures.

Need to see a dentist in Eastern Iowa?

Contact our Cedar Rapids dentist, Dr. Deb Cassill.

“Best experience with a dentist that I’ve had by far. Called with a broken tooth and the absolute worse pain in my life. Set me up for 9AM the next day. Called me an hour later and got me in immediately today. Was in and out feeling the best I’ve felt in 5 days. Will definitely make a return trip.” – Eric H., 5-Star Google Review

We strive to make dentistry stress-free by:

Plus, we’re available by phone 24/7 for those unexpected dental emergencies.

Schedule an Appointment

Or you can:

Our office is conveniently located in Cedar Rapids, IA. We happily welcome patients from the neighboring communities, including Marion, Hiawatha, Robins, Springville, Anamosa, Central City, and Center Point.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.

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