Swelling due to a toothache usually occurs when an infection develops inside a tooth. These pockets of infection, or abscesses, are typically painful and may also cause enlarged lymph glands near the infection site. Severe toothache accompanied by swelling always requires professional evaluation, as abscesses can sometimes spread and become life-threatening. While waiting for your dental appointment, you can ease swelling and toothache at home.
Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water every hour. Mix 1/2 tsp. salt into 8 oz. of warm, clean water.
Continue blushing and flossing as directed by your dentist to remove any trapped food particles that may be contributing to your toothache and swelling.
Apply a cold compress to the affected side of your face to reduce swelling and discomfort. Do not apply ice directly to your skin, as doing so can cause pain and tissue damage. Instead, use a commercial ice pack or a bag of loose ice cubes wrapped in a thin towel. Leave the compress in place for about 20 minutes at a time.
Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). These medications can help relieve swelling and pain due to a toothache. If over-the-counter medications are not strong enough, contact your doctor for a prescription-strength drug.