Cavities, or tooth decay, are caused by plaque buildup, bacteria and food particles. Cavities can cause a minor sensitivity, a dull ache, or even extreme pain and discomfort. Regardless of whether you're experiencing mild or severe pain, schedule an appointment with a dentist if you suspect a cavity. Left untreated, cavities can result in damaged nerves and gums. While waiting for your scheduled appointment, use some self-care techniques to ease your pain.
Rinse your mouth with warm water at least once an hour. The warm fluid may alleviate some of the pain, and also removes food debris that may be lodged in the cavity.
Take an over-the-counter pain-relieving medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin. Refer to the instructions and warnings on the bottle, and take as directed.
Create an ice pack by placing four to six ice cubes in a sealable plastic bag. Cover the back with a clean washcloth and gently press the bag against the area of your face where the tooth is located. Change the ice as necessary.
Brush, floss and rinse your teeth as normal until your scheduled appointment. Use only a light amount of pressure when brushing the affected area to prevent extra pain.