Doctors and providers who treat this condition


Dental Pain

Cross-section image two teeth, the gum and the jaw, showing the enamel, dentin, nerve, artery, vein, pulp, root, and bone.

A crack or cavity in the tooth, which exposes the sensitive inner area of the tooth can cause tooth pain. An infection in the gum or the root of the tooth can cause pain and swelling. The pain is often made worse by drinking hot or cold fluids, or biting on hard foods. Pain may spread from the tooth to the ear or jaw on the same side.

Home care

  • Avoid hot and cold foods and drinks. Your tooth may be sensitive to changes in temperature.

  • If your tooth is chipped or cracked, or if there is a large open cavity, apply OIL OF CLOVES (available over-the-counter in drug stores) directly to the tooth to reduce pain. Some pharmacies carry an over-the-counter "toothache kit." This contains a paste, which can be applied over the exposed tooth to decrease sensitivity. This is only a temporary solution. See a dentist as soon as possible to fix the tooth.

  • A cold pack on your jaw over the sore area may help reduce pain.

  • You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) 650–1000 mg every 6 hours or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) 600 mg every 6–8 hours with food to control pain, if you are able to take these medicines. [NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]

  • If you have signs of an infection, an antibiotic will be given. Take it as directed.


as directed with a dentist. Your pain may go away with the treatment given. However, only a dentist can fully evaluate and treat the cause and prevent the pain from coming back again.


Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Your face becomes swollen or red

  • Pain worsens or spreads to the neck

  • Fever over 101º F (38.3º C)

  • Unusual drowsiness; headache or stiff neck; weakness or fainting

  • Pus drains from the tooth

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing



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