The Best Medications to Stop Tooth Pain Fast

Oh My Aching Tooth!


Excruciating: Extremely painful; causing intense suffering; unbearably distressing; torturing.

I am a stranger to pain. The reason for this is because I do everything I can to avoid pain. My husband, also, does everything he can for me to avoid pain. He knows that as long as I am in pain, life is unbearable—for him and for me. With him at my side, we searched high and low to find anything tested or not, that would be a solution to the pain I would need to be relieved of if we ever wanted to have a normal life.

Certainly, I am not a doctor, and I can’t prescribe medication. But, after my experience with tooth pain, I am somewhat of an expert in tooth pain relief by now and I can share what worked for me to get the tooth pain to stop - fast. I can save readers time and money as they search for solutions to manage their own tooth pain.

Fast Relief

Some medications are going to work for minor pain relief, no matter what kind of pain reliever you use. For me, when the pain was simply an annoyance, I knew a general pain reliever could be used. When my pain was just a dull throb, I used whatever I had in my medicine cabinet. I tried the various types of pain relievers to determine which one worked the best and the fastest. Over the period of time while I was waiting to see my dentist, I used aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. All of these pain relievers worked for my tooth pain.

My recommendation for fast pain relief: Acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen relieved my tooth pain within 5 to 10 minutes and I did not experience any adverse side effects. When I read the back of the label, I saw that acetaminophen had the least number of adverse side effects in relation to my health concerns. So, I was happy that my tooth pain could be relieved so quickly with acetaminophen.

Other people will need to read the cautions and warnings to determine which type of pain reliever will be most beneficial with the least amount of side effects to their body and health concerns.

While all of these medications worked for me at the time I took them (not all at one time, of course) I would be negligent if I didn't share some precautions that come with taking these medications. See the chart titled "Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers for Tooth Pain".

Over-the-Counter Tooth Pain Remedies

Labeled Uses
Labeled Warnings
Provides temporary relief of headache, pain and fever of colds, muscle pain, menstrual pain, toothache, and minor pain of arthritis.
Reye’s syndrome: Children and teenagers who have or who are recovering from chicken pox or flu-like symptoms should not use this product. When using this product, if changes in behavior with nausea and vomiting occur, consult a doctor because these symptoms could be an early sign of Reye’s syndrome, rare but serious illness. Allergy alert: Aspirin may cause a severe allergic reaction which may include hives, facial swelling, asthma (wheezing), and shock.
Temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to headache, muscular aches, backache, arthritis, the common cold, toothache, menstrual cramps, reduces fever.
Alcohol warning: If you consume 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day, ask your doctor whether you should take acetaminophen or other pain reliever/fever reducers. Acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Also, do not use with any other product containing acetaminophen, and stop using the product and ask your doctor if new symptoms occur, redness of swelling is present, pain gets worse or lasts more than 10 days, fever gets worse or lasts for more than 3 days. Finally, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before using acetaminophen.
Temporarily relieves minor aches and pain due to headache, muscular aches, menstrual cramps, the common cold, backache, toothache, minor pain or arthritis, and temporarily reduces fever.
Ask your doctor before use if you are pregnant, under a doctor’s care for a serious condition, age 60 or over; taking any other drug or have stomach problems. This product may cause a severe allergic reaction, especially in people allergic to aspirin. Symptoms may include hives, facial swelling, asthma (wheezing), shock, skin reddening, rash, and blisters. If an allergic reaction occurs, stop use and seek medical help right away. Do not use this product if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any aspirin reliever/fever reducer. This product may cause stomach bleeding. Long term continuous use of this product may increase risk of heart attack or stroke.
NOTE: Most doctors caution against the continuous use of pain medication for a period that exceeds 10 days. Be sure to contact a doctor any time your condition gets worse.

From a Toothache to Tooth Pain

The onslaught of my tooth ache began as a dull throb. In fact, at first, I just worked through the pain – no big deal. Then, as time went on, gradually, that dull throb turned into the most excruciating pain I had experienced in my life. I elevated tooth pain to the number one position above childbirth pain. This pain was excruciating, note – excruciating. As long as the pain was dull, I could take over-the-counter pain medication and go on about my day as usual, but when the pain transitioned to the level of excruciation, I could barely function.

Ice is considered an analgesic (pain reliever) and is often recommended for pain. An ice pack placed at the site of the tooth pain is the universal "go to" solution for relieving tooth pain. Just hold the ice pack to the face on the side where you are experiencing tooth pain. Hold the ice pack in this position for at least 20 minutes. Do this every four hours to help alleviate pain.

When I hear ice packs and 20 minutes, I want to say, forget ice packs! Twenty minutes is just too long to wait for tooth pain relief. When I have unbearable tooth pain, I need tooth pain medication that works fast.

Why didn’t I go to the dentist, you ask? Well, at the time, I didn’t have dental insurance and although I was in extraordinary pain, I am overly afraid of dentists. I didn't want to pay money out of my pocket to have more pain that would be caused by a dentist who didn't understand my severe aversion to pain. I had a wonderful dentist in the hometown from which I had recently moved, but I am living in a new city now, which is hundreds of miles away from my family dentist and I was too afraid to try someone new.

I discovered that the reason my tooth began to ache so much was because the tooth had cracked. It had split vertically from the base up to the gum line. I was not going to be able to fix this on my own, so I had no choice but to call a local dentist. But, the dentists I called didn’t see my cracked tooth as an emergency and so it would be a month before I could get in to see a dentist. I scheduled an appointment with a dentist whose promotional material claimed, “Friendly staff with painless solutions for all your dental needs.” No pain? Well, that was the office for me. But, in the meantime, until I could get in to see the dentist, I had to manage the pain on my own

Gel Tooth Pain Reliever

Probably, the most widely known solution for immediate pain relief is a gel that is placed on the area of the mouth that is in pain. The active ingredient in oral pain relievers for tooth pain is benzocaine. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic (numbing medication). It works by blocking nerve signals in your body. I used an over-the-counter gel containing benzocaine for a short period of time. It worked immediately. But, there are some precautions to be taken seriously when using benzocaine.

Benzocaine can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia. Symptoms of methemoglobinemia include headache, fatigue, confusion, fast heart rate, and feeling light-headed or short of breath, with a pale, blue, or gray appearance of your skin, lips, or fingernails. (Reference: Symptoms can occur after a very short time of using a product containing benzocaine, and up to two hours after application. Remember, I was in severe pain, so the side effects were a mere inconvenience at the time. I used a gel tooth pain reliever and it worked very well. And, I'll mention again, it worked fast—almost immediately.

But, please take heed of the cautions known when using over-the-counter gel tooth pain relievers containing benzocaine.

Avoiding Infection

Sometimes, untreated tooth infections can evolve into a condition called encephalitis, which is a condition where the brain substance becomes inflamed. The condition can be treated, however, if left unattended, encephalitis can lead to high fever, convulsions, coma, and in some cases, death. While my dentist could not treat my cracked tooth immediately, he set an "exploratory" appointment so that he could prescribe an antibiotic to assure that I would not get an infection before my scheduled "analysis and treatment" appointment. (Reference:

Alternative Antibiotic Solution

Garlic Oil has been known to relieve inflammation in the body. Some cultures use garlic oil as an anti-inflammatory treatment. Well, once my dentist’s 10-day antibiotic subscription was used up, I figured I should do all that I could to continue the effect of the antibiotics. I read all I could about alternative solutions to antibiotics and noticed that garlic oil was a prevalent solution. I started taking 1000 mg of garlic oil four times a day. Folks, I do believe it worked. While I cannot guarantee that the garlic oil worked, I can attest to the fact that during the months’ time while I waited to see my dentist, I never developed an infection due to my cracked tooth.

My tooth was split from the base to the gum line. Instinctually, I knew that if food were to get trapped inside the crevice, I could develop an infection. My dentist appointment was a month away, so I had to devise a solution that would keep the two halves of my tooth held together tightly. I tried several over-the-counter solutions offered at the local pharmacy. None of them worked. In fact, they failed miserably.

Instant Tooth Bonding Products

The label promises "instant pain relief." Well, I tried two tubes of this product. I followed the directions religiously "to the tooth", so to speak, and discovered that it did not work as promised. I was very dissatisfied. In fact, my tooth pain was worse after trying this product than had I not messed with the product at all.

Please do not waste your money on buying instant tooth bonding products. In my experience, it did not work and made the pain worse. And, as you already know, I am not a fan of pain. If I can save you against additional pain, not recommending this product is one way to accomplish that endeavor.

Temporary Tooth Wrapping

When the instant tooth bonding product did not work, I was in extraordinarily extreme pain. I had to find a solution - fast!

People say, "necessity is the mother of invention." Well, by this time, it was necessary for me to find relief for the awful tooth pain I was experiencing at that moment. And, I don't know how my brain came up with the idea, but my brain helped me invent a solution that relieved my tooth pain - immediately! Don't ask me how I developed the process to my pain relief solution, but somehow, I had the sense to:

  1. Make a solution of 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water. Somehow, I knew that salt water was a sanitizing solution for the mouth. I must have actually learned something way back in high school biochemestry class. In any event, the knowledge came in handy when I needed it the most.
  2. Swirl and rinse my mouth with the salt water solution for about one minute. Sipping, swirling, and spitting the salt water for about a minute was all I needed. And, during the process, I could feel the pain subsiding. I knew I was on to something wonderful.
  3. Wrap a string of dental floss (tape) around my tooth. I wrapped dental floss tape around my tooth three times - once to secure the bond, another to enforce the bond, and a third time to be able to tie the floss without jeapordizing the initial bond. Then, I cut the excess floss with a pair of sterilized scissors.

I was pleasantly surprised. After wraping my tooth, the tooth pain stopped. I was able to eat and feel normal almost immediately after tying my tooth with the dental floss.

Incidentally, when I mentioned to the dentist that I was wrapping my tooth with dental floss, the dentist said that he had never heard of anything like it. He said it was an ingenious idea and that I should keep doing that until I could get in for my appointment.

The tooth was wrapped securely. Food particles and bacteria were blocked, which lessened the chance of infection. I felt good about how I was protecting my body from infection, so at that moment, I was a very happy camper!

The tooth wrapping strategy proved to be an excellent solution and from that day forward. My tooth pain was relieved until the day that I could go in to see my new dentist.

Treat Tooth Pain Seriously

Tooth pain can be a sign of underlying problems and should always be taken seriously. Most people do not have to endure tooth pain for as long of a period as I did, but whenever you are in a position where you are forced to manage tooth pain, rest assured that there are viable over-the-counter medications to help you stop tooth pain fast.

Consider ice as an analgesic. It doesn't work fast, but it can be used in conjunction with tooth pain medication that works fast.

For fast relief, consider over-the-counter pain medication such as a topical pain relieving gel. You can also take aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. And, if you have a tooth that is split vertically, consider wrapping it with dental floss tape.

These are my temporary solutions for fast tooth pain relief. For ultimate tooth pain relief, I recommend seeing your dentist, preferably one who specializes in "pain free" dental solutions.

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Comments 38 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 9 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Donna. Thank you for your tooth pain solution. I will try it the next time I have tooth pain. And, I hope you don't mind if I add it to the list if it works for me.

Donna 9 months ago

you can try one part liquid glycerin, one part peroxide mix well, add orajel or any other toothache relief gel with benzocaine and add to glycerin and peroxide and swish. gives pain relief for hours and has a sweet taste. Clove oil also works well.

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MarleneB 11 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi angel. Thank you for recommending cloves. The next time I have tooth pain, I will try cloves.

angel 11 months ago

Cloves do work.I had 13 Teeth removed at once.But before I could get them removed I had horrible pain.I put a handful of cloves in my mouth and waited about 10 minutes. Then went and spit it out. Didn't have any more pain for the 3 weeks waiting on the appointment.

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MarleneB 17 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Thank you for your wonderful suggestions. They all sound like things people can do right away to help stop tooth pain. 17 months ago

I knew about some of the home treatments mentioned in here such as rinsing the mouth with warm salty water (sea salt); hat will stop pain very fast as I have tried it. Clove is a good one also: place some clove powder on affected area and that will help a lot; matter of fact dentists use it in other countries as a routine treatment. Garlic pills also are good for general health in fact and is used a lot in Europe and Latin American countries. Then using benzocaine helps also as it is an anesthetic. A good thing to do after rinsing with salty water is to apply peroxide to the affected area with a cotton swab and that will for sure disinfect the area; matter of fact it is good to rinse the mouth with peroxide after brushing.

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MarleneB 22 months ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello Herb. I am so sorry that none of these solutions worked for you. There are many solutions to manage tooth pain. The ones I share here are the ones that I have personally tried. Some of the solutions worked better than others. One didn't work at all. It's simply my personal experience with tooth pain and what worked and didn't work.

Herb 22 months ago

I have already tried all of these and none work

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MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Marie Flint! Garlic seems to be one of those ingredients that fits the bill no matter what the ailment. Thank you so much for sharing your quick and easy tooth pain solution.

Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

A warm clove poultice, made by brewing 1-2 Tbls. whole or ground clove in 2-4 cups of water and straining it (brewing it in a coffee maker with a coffee filter works well), can be very helpful in immediately alleviating tooth or gum pain. Dip a small sponge or edge of a washcloth into the "tea" and place it on the affected area.

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alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

I always thought you have to live through the pain. Am relieved to say that this is not the case. I also like the combination of art and technology.

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MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hello rajan jolly. Thank you for the additional tip about using clove oil. I will look for that and keep it handy as a remedy, too.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

What an awesome idea to tie dental floss around the tooth! The salt solution remedy is also a tested herbal remedy. Clove oil also numbs the area and the pain. It is great to know that these remedies worked for you till it was time for you to see the dentist.

anonymous 3 years ago

Hello! dgcaaed interesting dgcaaed site! I'm really like it! Very, very dgcaaed good!

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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Yes, Jerrad245, I definitely agree that the time comes when you ultimately need to see a dentist to take care of the problem. You are fortunate that you have 24/7 dental service. Where I live, I don't have such service. So, until I can get in to see the dentist, my first objective is to stop the pain fast. When I moved to the area I live now, I called local dentists to find out what there services were. None of them were available after 5:00 p.m. When I had my tooth ache and wanted to see a dentist right away, I called around to find one who would see me and none of them thought a tooth ache was an emergency. Even after explaining that my tooth pain was caused by a cracked tooth, the dentists still felt like it was no big deal. So, I had to wait for an appointment to come available. I had to wait a month dealing with the pain. So, I envy you and others in your area who are fortunate to have all day dental service. That would be so cool to have around here.

Jerrad245 4 years ago

No one wants to see a Dentist, I definitely am with you on that, but realistically its not going to go away, and in reality it might only get worse, plain and simple, you need to see a dentist. Here locally in San Diego we actually even have emergency dental clinics that are open 24/7, which is where I went for my tooth infection weeks ago, , but there are mutliple ones, the biggest thing is addressing the issue and a painkiller can never do it.

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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

You are quite welcome, mastermikeee.

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mastermikeee 4 years ago from College Station, Texas


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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Sweet Chococarrie, I think tooth pain is very hard to endure. It also helps to have a dentist who is sensitive to patients who fear pain. I once had a dentist who was very gentle and made sure I was never in pain. I have moved away from that area and now I am searching for a dentist who will be careful and painfree.

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Sweet Chococarrie 4 years ago from My Heart To Yours

Nice well explained tooth pain relievers and remedies and i enjoyed reading them, i guess for me when i finally went to the dentist i was ready for a war, i mean i really wanted real pains from the syringe ''the anesthesia, it is the most painful for me, but with the terrible pain i almost gave my gums away and finally anything more painful is never painful for me anymore, specially extractions, i feel great relief of the fast effect of the anesthesia then peace is all over.

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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi, Green Lotus! Thank you. The garlic oil actually turned out to be quite a good thing for me. I still use it to this day, only now I take garlic oil to help ward off the mosquitoes who use to attack me out here in the country.

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I love your recommendation for garlic oil to ward off infection! Very well researched and useful. Thanks!

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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

azurevon - Yes. Tooth pain is one of those pains that is not like any other. But, there is fast relief to help deal with the pain until you can get to the dentist. Thank you very much for your visit and for your comment.

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azurevon 4 years ago

Indeed, tooth pain is really torturing, i can't hold myself back and immediately go to dentist

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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you, kittyjj for visiting my hub. Yes. I can't tell you how I thought of it, but it did work. I hope you never have to use this technique, but at least now, you know about it and can use it if the occasion arises.

kittyjj profile image

kittyjj 4 years ago from San Jose, California

Use dental floss for a split tooth, what a clever idea! I am taking note of this. It might come in handy in the future. Thank you for sharing. :)

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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Hi Faith Reaper! Yes; ice (but not directly on the tooth) placed on the side of the face was one of the first things someone had told me to try. It didn't work for me. It just made my face feel cold. Thank you for stopping by and for your comment.

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

There is nothing worse than toothache pain! This is very insightful information here. I knew about the gels, but never would have thought about ice. Great hub!

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MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you for your feedback, bethperry. I had heard about holding an aspirin on the tooth. But, I forgot to even try it. At least now (thank you) have one more solution to relieve tooth pain. Thank you for sharing your great advice, and know for sure that I will try it next time I have a toothache.

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bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

Very useful Hub! I've had fragile teeth ever since I had to take anti-seizure meds some years ago and no matter how diligently I take care for my teeth they remain so vulnerable. And over the years I have found the fastest relief to a sudden assault by a bad tooth is holding an aspirin against it until I can get to a dentist.

Good advice here, voting up.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you all. I really appreciate you stopping by.

DigbyAdams - Yes. I know what you mean. I use to try to eat garlic, and as much as I like garlic I didn't think I could eat enough for the antibiotic level. So, the garlic capsules are working out quite well with the added bonus of - I no longer get mosquito bites. That's a real plus for me, because you know how I feel about pain and those mosquito bites can really hurt.

Simone - Yeah. The gel was something I picked up from motherhood. It helped numb the gums when the babies were teething. I figured if it worked for them it should work for me.

Arlene - Oh, the pain. I am so sorry you had to go through that. By the way, I'm still looking for a dentist. The dentist I'm seeing now has a friendly staff, but he's not as pain free as he advertises.

Arlene V. Poma 4 years ago

Very helpful chart! I remember breaking a tooth in Alabama (banana taffy!) and having to wait days to finish vacation and return to California. I have a dentist that I trust. Everyone else has brought me pain.

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Goodness, this is such a fantastic guide! I love the table, and it's great to know about some of the other alternatives as well. I didn't know that there were even gels one could apply directly to the effected area. So cool!

Thanks for sharing all this info!

DigbyAdams 4 years ago

Very informative hub. I do think your instincts are correct about garlic. I was watching the news the other night and they said a study showed that it was more effective and worked faster than some antibiotics when dealing with certain types of food poisoning. Although the news report didn't specify how much garlic you had to eat. Somehow when I'm that sick, I couldn't imagine eating garlic - and keeping it down. Anyway I'm glad you're feeling better.

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA Author

Thank you all very much for your feedback.

Denise - You might be right about it being associated with the head, because I certainly can't think about anything when I have a toothache.

Kelleyward - I'm just glad that ordeal is over. Strangely, I'm on my way to the dentists's office for a checkup in about 30 minutes.

unknown spy - I hope I can spare others of such pain. I'm glad the chart is helpful.

unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

toothache really really hurts!!! oh my. thanks or the chart. great help!

kelleyward 4 years ago

Tooth pain is one of the worst forms of pain to have. Sorry you had to deal with this. I really enjoyed reading this informative hub! Take care, Kelley

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

What an awesome chart, Marlene. Sorry about your toothache. I hate tooth pain. I think b/c it is associated with the head it makes it even more excrutiating than other pain. Voted it up.

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    Marlene Bertrand (MarleneB)577 Followers
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    Marlene spends numerous hours researching solutions to common and sometimes obscure health and beauty issues. She shares her results here.

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