May 13, 2014
Dental pain is one of the worst types of pain because teeth are extremely sensitive and the mouth is used for so many different things, like eating, drinking, and talking. When you’re in recovery mode after a dental procedure, it’s hard to think about much else. Whatever work you have done, though, there are great, simple ways to manage the pain and get back in the game.
For Basic Dental Work
Getting a cavity filled is one of the most basic dental procedures, but it can still leave you in some pain after the work is done. Some people even experience pain after just having their teeth cleaned. After any kind of minor grinding, polishing, and scraping of the teeth, there are some simple tips for managing the pain.
- Sensitivity is the biggest complaint after a visit to the dentist’s office. The best advice for treating sensitivity is to avoid triggers like hot and cold food and drinks. Sweet foods can also cause a small zing around the filling.
- Switch to sensitivity toothpaste. The desensitizing agents in this paste provide relief so that you can enjoy eating again.
- Try steering clear of sticky and hard food. These will cause pressure and irritate the filled area even more than it already is. In fact, avoiding chewing on the sore area is probably a good idea until your mouth adapts.
- Pain medication is always a great option if the pain is unbearable. An over-the-counter pain reliever should be all you need for these minor treatments.
- Keep your mouth clean. While many people feel like brushing and flossing might make the pain worse, the opposite is actually true. You should keep this area clean to prevent the pain from worsening. Plus, any weakness around the filled area is extra susceptible to decay, so you want to make sure it stays clean.
- Try a rinse. A common home remedy is swishing warm salt water around in the mouth. If you feel like it needs a little more kick, try adding in a bit of clove oil.
For Major Dental Procedures
Tooth extractions, root canals, crowns, and other major dental procedures cause a lot of pain after the numbness wears off. This type of pain is a lot more intense than the kind caused by a simple filling and generally requires different strategies to alleviate. It can also last a lot longer, requiring more action.
- Take it easy. Too much physical activity, especially running or strenuous movement, can cause your tooth pain to worsen. Try to relax, get a massage, or take up reading instead.
- Keep up on the pain medication. Dentists will routinely give a prescription to patients after certain procedures, like wisdom teeth removal, because the pain is bad and constant. If you have pain medication, be sure and take it as directed so that you will not have any gaps where pain can seep through. If you were not given a prescription but over-the-counter pain medications are not helping the discomfort, you can always call in and ask if you can get something stronger.
- Ice packs applied directly to the area of pain is a great way to get some relief. If you had major dental work done, be sure to keep several ice packs in the freezer so you can cycle through them.
- Avoid drinking through a straw or sucking at all. This can create dry socket which is going to knock you down for even longer.
- Take some vitamin C or a general multivitamin to help healing speed up.
- Control any bleeding with gauze and tea bags. After a tooth extraction, the dentist is going to have you bite on some gauze to limit the bleeding. After about twelve hours you can change it up by biting a damp tea bag. Tea leaves not only help reduce pain, but they also can help encourage clotting.
- Open your mouth. While you may feel like your jaw hurts too much to talk or eat, you might be doing more damage than good by keeping your mouth shut. Stiffness is a common side effect of major dental work, so avoid it by making sure you open up from time to time.
- Follow all instructions from your dentist. Also be sure to attend all of your follow up appointments.
These recommendations can all minimize pain and sensitivity after getting dental work done. However, if the pain does not get better after a few weeks, you should definitely call the dentist for another appointment. Whether you have minor or a major dental work done, you want to get over the pain and get on with your life as soon as possible.