A toothache pertains to the pain in or around a tooth. Minor cases of toothaches can be due to a temporary gum irritation that can be treated easily at home. However, more serious cases of toothaches may be caused by dental and mouth problems that will not get better on their own and need to be treated by a dentist.
Toothaches are very painful because the pulp inside the tooth is soft and filled with nerves, tissues, and blood vessels. These pulp nerves are extremely delicate, and when they become inflamed or bacterially infected, they can produce excruciating pain. Toothaches are agonizing. The pain from toothaches is enough to prevent you from enjoying food, having a conversation, or really getting through the day comfortably. Severe toothaches can leave you unable to live life to the fullest.
Fortunately, there is a plethora of medications over the counter that you can buy to fix this problem. It is miraculous how applying a little bit of medicine can make such a big difference in pain management. However, while there are a few fantastic medications that you can buy that work miracle, there are also some that are not effective. If you are looking for a strong over-the-counter pain medication for toothaches, you’re in the right place. In this post, we are giving you more information about them and a few recommendations so that you can choose the ideal one for your needs.
What are the Causes of Toothaches?
Before we talk about the pain medications that you can use for toothaches, let us first learn about what causes them. There are actually different reasons behind toothaches. Below are some of them:
Tooth Decay: Tooth decay or a cavity can cause mild to sharp pain when biting down or eating something sweet or acidic. It’s crucial to visit the dentist and receive a filling if tooth decay is the root of your toothache before the cavity worsens.
Abscess: An infection can cause throbbing pain, and it can be due to an untreated cavity, injury, or dental work. This may require antibiotics and drainage of the abscess, especially if a fever is present. After that, a root canal needs to be performed by a dentist or endodontist.
Tooth Sensitivity: This can last only for a short period when teeth come in contact with liquids, cold air, and food. Tooth sensitivity can be due to receding gums or thinning of the tooth enamel. If you are experiencing this, it is better to switch to fluoride-containing toothpaste for sensitive teeth and use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Tooth Injury: An example of tooth injury is a chipped tooth due to biting onto something hard. This can cause pain when biting or chewing. It may also cause sensitivity to hot and cold food. Before the pain worsens, it is better to call your dentist right away to get your tooth fixed.
Recent Dental Work: Recent dental work, like teeth whitening and a filling, may cause temporary inflammation in the pulp tissues of the tooth. If this is the case, taking over-the-counter pain medication is the best option. However, returning to your dentist is the recommended course of action if the discomfort does not go away after a few days.
Wisdom Teeth: When a wisdom tooth is impacted or fails to break through the gumline, it can cause pain. It usually causes inflammation of the gums, but the pain may also extend to the jaw and the ear. Taking over-the-counter pain medication may also help relieve the pain, but visiting your dentist for a wisdom tooth extraction is the best solution.
Sinus Congestion: When you have flu, cold, or allergies, they can also cause a dull ache and pressure in the upper teeth because they are near the sinuses. Taking a decongestant is a good solution, but it is also best to visit your family physician to treat your sinus congestion.
Along with these, there are many other causes of toothaches, such as gum infection, teeth grinding, and more, that are needed to be taken to the dentist for immediate solutions. That is why it is essential to get a proper evaluation by your dentist if you feel any pain or discomfort in your teeth so proper treatment can be administered.
Things to Consider When Buying Over-The-Counter Toothache Medications
When a toothache strikes, it can be difficult to concentrate on anything other than the pain. Visiting your dentist as soon as possible is truly the best option for this. However, if you can’t get to your dentist as soon as you’d like due to a busy schedule or other reasons, using over-the-counter toothache medications might help relieve the pain until you can visit your dentist.
To select the ideal analgesic to relieve your toothache, it is important to understand how these medications work to manage pain. Also, you need to know whether they are safe for you. Below are some of the important things to consider when choosing an over-the-counter toothache medication.
Health Conditions: There are some medical conditions that make certain pain medications unsafe. Some of these include digestive problems, liver disease, and kidney disease. The same goes for pregnancy. Therefore, before you take any medication for your toothache, it is better to ask your healthcare provider first about what is safe for you.
Side Effects: Even though OTC pain medications for toothaches are widely used and easily accessible, it doesn’t mean they are risk-free. These medicines may also come with possible side effects of short-term use, which are all outlined for each of the OTC medicines you buy. Therefore, think twice about those medications that may pose a concern for you.
Drug Interactions: It might not be safe to combine some painkillers with other drugs that you may be taking. Some of the medicines that are unsafe to be mixed with OTC pain relievers include blood pressure drugs, blood thinners, and some antidepressants. Therefore, it is important to ask your dentist or doctor what medications for toothache are safe for you if you are taking other medicines.
Potential for Overdose: If the pain reliever you are taking contains an active ingredient that is also in another medication you are taking, you run the risk of overdosing, which can cause harmful side effects to your health. Therefore, it is important to know the contents of your medicines to avoid overdose.
The Different Over-The-Counter Pain Medications for Toothaches
If you are searching for strong OTC pain medications for toothaches, there are many options available in the market for you to choose from. They come in different types and brands. To give you more ideas, below are the different over-the-counter toothache medications:
Ibuprofen is among the most popular OTC pain relievers for toothache. It is usually sold under famous brand names, such as Nuprin, Advil, and Motrin. They are available in liquid gel capsules, tablets, and oral suspensions. This kind of medication falls within the category of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It can work well with toothache as it relieves pain and lowers inflammation, which are causes of many different mouth-related aches and pains. However, note that Ibuprofen may cause common side effects. These include bloating, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, and nervousness.
Below are some examples of Ibuprofen medications for toothaches to help you choose:
- Timely Ibuprofen Pain Relief Tablets: This is a strong medicine that contains 200mg of ibuprofen to help you be relieved from toothaches. In addition to that, it can also reduce fever and relieve headaches, which sometimes go along with tooth pain.
- Amazon Basic Care Ibuprofen Tablets: This medication also contains 200mg of ibuprofen to relieve the pain from tooth problems and reduce fever. It is a proven OTC medicine for toothache, as well as other pains in the body like backache, headache, and minor arthritis pain. It is a strong medication to provide the relief that you need.
Naproxen is also under the NSAID classification. It is frequently used for toothaches and comes in tablets, caplets, gel caps, and liquid gels. Some of the popular brand names for this type of medication include Aleve, Anaprox, and Naprosyn. Based on research, Naproxen is effective for post-surgical dental pain. Also, while Naproxen and Ibuprofen are both in the same classification, one may work better for you compared to the other. Like Ibuprofen, some of the side effects of Naproxen include upset stomach, bloating, headache, and dizziness.
Below are some examples of Naproxen medications for toothaches to help you pick:
- Good Sense Naproxen Sodium Tablets: These tablets contain 200mg of naproxen to relieve toothache, as well as other pains like a headache, backache, and minor arthritis. One dose of this medication can provide relief for as long as 12 hours. It may also be used as a fever reducer for adults.
- Amazon Basic Care Naproxen Sodium Tablets: These tablets contain 220mg of naproxen to temporarily relieve minor aches and pains due to toothache. It can also help reduce fever in adults. It comes in a capsule-shaped tablet and it is gluten-free.
Aspirin is an older type of pain reliever, and it also belongs in the NSAID classification. Based on research, aspirin is effective in relieving pain from dental problems. It also comes in various forms, such as delayed-release and extended-release tablets, chewable tablets, and suppositories. There are also lots of brand names for this medication, such as Bayer, Excedrin, Anacin, Bufferin, and more.
When taking aspirin for toothache, you need to make sure that you swallow the pills as directed. Do not follow the old folk remedy that suggests placing it on a tooth to relieve the pain, as that is wrong and can only cause more damage to your teeth. Note that aspirin may also have side effects in some people, such as stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
Below are some examples of aspirins for toothaches to give you more ideas:
- Bayer Extra Strength Aspirin: This medication rushes relief directly to the side of tough pain. Each caplet is sodium and caffeine-free. It can help relieve pain associated with toothache, as well as headache, muscle pain, and fever.
- BC Powder Original Strength Pain Reliever: If you find it difficult to swallow tablets and caplets, this product may work for you. It is a unique dual-action powder formula that works fast to relieve pain. It contains 845mg aspirin and 65mg caffeine. It is a convenient on-the-go stick for pain relief at any time.
This medication is a popular way to manage toothache. However, unlike NSAIDs, Acetaminophen can’t reduce inflammation. It is available under popular brand names, such as Tylenol, Actamin, and Feverall. It is best used if you can’t take NSAIDs. It is available in different forms that may work for toothaches, such as oral suspension, liquid gel capsules, and tablets. However, note that acetaminophen can cause possible side effects, such as headache, nausea, insomnia, constipation, vomiting, blood pressure changes, and diarrhea.
Below are some examples of acetaminophen to help you choose:
- Rite Aid Extra Strength Acetaminophen Pain Relief Gelcaps: These gel caps contain 500mg of acetaminophen. It can help relieve pain from toothaches temporarily, as well as reduce fever. It is designed for fast-acting pain relief. It also does not contain aspirin, and it is formulated for easy swallowing.
- Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets: These caplets have 500mg of acetaminophen to provide brief relief of minor aches and pains caused by toothaches. It can also be used as a fever reducer for adults.
Toothache Drops, Gels, and Creams
In addition to taking OTC oral medications for toothaches, there are also other over-the-counter medicines that are applied directly to the affected tooth. Most of these products contain natural ingredients that are helpful when it comes to relieving dental pains, such as clove oil, peppermint, and more. They are also safer, especially for those with other health issues, because only a small amount of these products are applied to the affected area.
Below are some examples of toothache drops, gels, and creams to help you choose:
- GoodBye Toothaches – Tooth Ache Pain Relief: This toothache drop can offer fast relief to your dental pain. It’s made of clove bud oil, peppermint oil, and other essential elements proven to provide a homeopathic remedy for tooth pain. It is also fortified with Omega 9, which quickly decreases inflammation that is usually the culprit of mouth pain. Unlike most OTC pain medicines, you just need a tiny drop of this product to get quick relief. If you want an organic alternative for tooth pain and gum issues, this is the best option available.
- Red Cross Toothache Medication Drops: Red cross toothache medication drops primary ingredient is eugenol oil which is typically extracted from cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, basil, and nutmeg. All of these ingredients have powerful antiseptic and pain-numbing properties. These properties make for an extremely powerful toothache relief solution that you can buy over the counter.
- Orajel 4X Medicated For Toothache & Gum Gel: This product comes with a ready-open tube tip for quick access and easy application. Orajel 4X Medicated For Toothache & Gum Gel provides instant pain relief for severe toothaches and even painful gums. The formula combines the power of four active ingredients for fast topical pain relief. This toothache and gum pain medication is proven to kill harmful bacteria, help prevent infection, and provide cooling relief for gum irritation.
- DenTek Adult Instant Pain Relief Kit: The kit comes with 50 swabs that can be attached to a convenient handle for easy application. You simply need to dip these swabs into the benzocaine solution. From there, generously apply the solution to the area of pain. Possibly the best part about this product is that you are free to apply as much of the solution as you see fit. It is up to you to judge how much benzocaine to soak up before applying the solution to the area of the mouth that is in severe pain.
- Plantago Dental Lotion- Natural Oral Care Drops: It’s an all-natural dental lotion (oral care drops formula) used to relieve toothache, treats gingivitis, and even resolve bad breath issues. Not only does this formula provide fast pain relief, but it is also quite powerful in fighting off infection. Its main ingredients include Acid Carbolic D1, Kreasotum, Belladonna, Camphora, Plantago, Aconite Nap D1, and Xanthoxylum, which help to kill off any bacteria that may be making the tooth pain worse or spread the infection.
There are indeed many different options available today when it comes to relieving toothaches. However, before you buy and use one, you need to make sure that it is safe and that it will not contradict any existing health condition and medication that you have.
Also, remember that over-the-counter pain medications are only used for temporary pain relief. This means that they are unable to treat the root cause of your toothache. Therefore, it is very important to see your dentist immediately when you feel any dental pain. This way, your problem will be addressed quickly and safely.
We hope this post helped you learn more about finding the strongest over-the-counter pain medication for toothaches.
 Cleveland Clinic, E. (2020, March 23). Toothache: Causes, symptoms, treatment & prevention. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10957-toothache
 Galina, Y. (2018, November 30). 7 possible causes of toothache and treatment options. Golden State. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.goldenstatedentistry.com/blog/10-common-causes-of-a-toothache-and-suggested-treatment-options
 Watson, S. (2022, October 11). Over-the-counter medicine for Toothache Pain. Verywell Health. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/otc-dental-pain-relief-1059309