Should I Visit an Emergency Dentist for a Mild Toothache?

Posted on: August 7, 2020

emergency dentist Peabody, MA

In most cases, visiting an emergency dentist for a mild toothache is not necessary. Most toothaches can be controlled with home care until an appointment with a regular dentist can be made. However, there are times when a toothache may warrant an emergency visit.

Home remedies for a mild toothache

There are a variety of reasons for a toothache, especially a mild one, and symptoms may be managed with natural or other at-home remedies. These include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers – There are numerous pain relievers, both in pill form and topical gels, that help numb an aching tooth.
  • Cold compress – A cold compress is especially helpful if the toothache is due to physical trauma of some kind. The coldness reduces inflammation and swelling and reduces the severity of the pain. Hold the compress over the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes and repeat every hour or so.
  • Mouth rinses – Rinsing the mouth with a mixture of salt and water helps heal any wounds in the mouth and also reduce inflammation. Another effective mouth rinse is an equal mixture of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. This not only reduces inflammation and pain, but it kills bacteria and heals bleeding gums.
  • Peppermint tea bags – Peppermint has numerous healing properties, and it can soothe sensitive gums and relieve tooth pain. Brew a tea bag and let it cool a little before applying it directly to the tooth. You can also freeze the tea bag for a couple of minutes and then apply it.
  • Clove oil – Clove oil contains a natural antiseptic to reduce inflammation and numb pain. Dab a small amount, using a cotton ball, to the tooth, or mix it with a few drops of oil or water before applying.
  • Vanilla extract – The alcohol in vanilla extract can numb toothache pain. Use a finger or cotton ball to apply it directly to the tooth and gums.

Reasons to see an emergency dentist

Sometimes an emergency dentist appointment is necessary for a toothache. If the use of over-the-counter medication does nothing to numb the pain, it may be an emergency.

With a mild toothache, most people are able to continue with daily activities, even if the pain is slightly distracting. However, if the toothache is constant and interferes with normal functions, it may be an emergency. If the toothache interferes with sleep or wakes someone up, it usually indicates the need for an emergency appointment.

If, along with the toothache, the person experiences signs of infection, an emergency dentist should be seen right away. These symptoms include redness and warmth around the tooth, fever, pussy discharge from the tooth, foul smell from the tooth, and pus-filled sores on the gums.


It can be challenging to know if a toothache requires an emergency dentist. A mild one usually can wait for a regular dental appointment, but if in doubt, call the emergency number and explain the symptoms and any other pertinent information.

Request an appointment here: or call Northside Dental Care, PC at (978) 206-7077 for an appointment in our Peabody office.

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