I have recently been battling a combination of a tooth abscess and wisdom teeth eruption, and let me tell you, it is no fun. The first thing I have to recommend to anyone looking for relief from the pain and other symptoms of a tooth abscess or wisdom teeth eruption is to seek immediate dental care.
While you wait for your appointment, here are 10 things you can do to survive a tooth abscess.
1) Gargle with warm salt water for ten minutes at a time every few hours. This old wives tale has some scientifically proven uses according to several sources. I am not going to go into any of the how’s and why’s this works, but it does. After the first use I saw a dramatic reduction in swelling and pain.
2) Gargle with an antibacterial mouth wash three times daily. This one probably works in a similar fashion to salt water rinses, but just the same, it works…and leaves your breath smelling minty fresh! I use Cepacol Antibacterial Mouthwash and Gargle. In a pinch you can make your own, adding twelve drops of Grapefruite Seed Extract to an 8 oz. glass of warm water.
3) Place a tea bag on the affected tooth. Yup, you read that right. Place a dry black tea bag on the affected (or infected) tooth. Some of the sites I researched said to sprinkle salt on the tea bag, some sites said nothing about that step. I skipped the salt since I was already doing a saltwater gargle. Leave in the mouth for 1 hour. I could not believe how well this worked.
4) Apply a cold compress or ice pack for 15 minutes. Use cold to numb the pain and reduce any swelling. DO NOT USE HEAT. From my research, using heat on an infection only helps it spread.
5) Alternate Ibuprofen and Tylenol. I do not like to use prescription painkillers (narcotics) so with this pain I was left with over the counter medications to deal. You might also want to consider taking Tylenol if you begin to run a fever. It was recommended to me from my doctor to alternate the recommended dosage of ibuprofen (for inflammation and pain) and Tylenol (for fever and pain) every three hours.
6) Take Vitamin C and give your immune system a helping hand. Take 1000 milligrams once a day and give your immune system a boost, be sure to check with your primary care provider if this dose is advised, some only recommend 500mg.
7) Make sure to eat. If the doctor or dentist hasn’t already put you on an antibiotic, you will be at some point. Taking antibiotics, pain medication and vitamins can do a doozy on an empty stomach. I know how much it hurts eating with a tooth abscess, but you need to eat. Stick to soft foods, soups and if all else fails, chicken broth. My personal favorite is mashed potatoes.
8) Drink lots of water. This is just as important as making sure to eat, so start drinking some good ol’ H2O. Drink until you feel like you are going to expload. Water will help your body hydrate up and fight the infection, as well as flush out your system.
9) Apply Orajel using a q-tip. My BFF T-Byrd over at Bit of Byrd recommended this to me and at first I was skeptical, but OMG it really works!
10) Make a salt and baking soda paste. Combine 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda and just enough water to make a thoothick paste. Pack around affected tooth for fifteen minutes. Supposedly this draws out and kills the infection. As soon as I finished the fifteen minutes with this paste on my tooth I rinsed with a salt water rinse and brushed my teeth and I felt so much better.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no substitute for good medical and dental care. So call your dentist and schedule an appointment to get this treated right away.