Toothache can be an incredibly stressful and debilitating experience for otherwise healthy people. Often, the onset is very sudden, and over-the-counter painkillers aren't always enough to get you through the day. If you're suffering from tooth pain, whether it's sharp and sudden, dull and throbbing, or somewhere in between, the following tips might just help see you through:
1. Clove Oil
A natural, essential oil extracted from the clove plant, clove oil is a natural antiseptic which not only helps to prevent the spread of bacteria around the affected area, but also effectively numbs the pain of the aching tooth. Simply dry the gums at the source of the pain and apply the clove oil with a cotton bud for instant relief. The taste may not be for everyone, but you can't argue with the results.
2. Hot water bottle
Holding a hot water bottle against the problem side of your face (safely covered, or wrapped in a towel, of course) will allow the heat to radiate through the affected area and effectively soothe dull, throbbing pains. Feels good, doesn't it?
3. Focus your mind...elsewhere!
Mind-over-matter only goes so far, but while you may not be able to telepathically transport yourself into the company of a skilled dentist, you may be able to lessen your own subjective experience of pain in the interim. Studies have shown that our perception of pain is significantly affected by our expectations, so choose not to dwell on the pain, and instead focus intently on the sensations of another, pain-free body part.
4. Control your breathing
As with the previous tip, concentrating on one's breathing can help to decrease the subjective experience of pain. Studies have shown that meditation, which begins with an awareness and control of one's breath, can lessen the perceived unpleasantness of chronic pain without the need for drug-based painkillers.
5. Find an entertaining diversion
The catch with this tip is that you must actively engage with your diversion. A favourite movie or TV show may seem like the ideal refuge from the imposing pain, but you might just find your mind wandering back to reality during quiet on-screen moments. Try a videogame instead: ideally one that is fast-paced, requiring lots of inputs and sustained concentration. Forget about the pain, and go for that high score!
A word of caution... Whilst these tips may help you weather the storm, tooth pain rarely resolves itself and is usually indicative of a larger problem, requiring professional attention. Be sure to consult your dentist as soon as the pain starts, and have it treated at its source.