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Experiencing a toothache and searching for relief? Ibuprofen is one of the most common analgesics used to relieve pain associated with toothaches, and it can be a secure and effective solution.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss more in-depth how ibuprofen works when used as an analgesic for those with toothache, detail appropriate dosages and forms that are best suited for oral use, outline potential side effects that may occur if not taken correctly or cautiously monitored, provide helpful tips on managing symptoms associated with ibuprofen usage (if any), and ultimately ensure your safety when using ibuprofen to manage your toothache.

So read on –– just like you would turn to a trusted dentist’s advice –– because together, we’ll get through this! This guide provides an overview of the safe and effective use of ibuprofen for toothache. You’ll learn the best methods for maximising efficacy while minimising risks. 


What are the potential causes of toothache? 


  • Tooth decay 

When tooth decay occurs, the tooth enamel breaks down, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth and causing irritation and pain. Many factors are implicated in tooth decay, including inadequate oral hygiene, consuming too much sugar, and not enough fluoride in your diet. 


  • Gum disease

Gum disease is another common cause of toothache. Gum disease can occur when the gums become inflamed and tender, typically due to an accumulation of plaque. Gum disease can cause pain and sensitivity, as well as bleeding gums. 


  • Infection

tooth hurts manage ways adelaideAn infection can also cause toothache. It can occur if bacteria enter the tooth through a crack or break in the enamel.

An infection can also occur after dental work, such as a filling or root canal.

Infections can cause severe pain, swelling, and fever. 


  • Trauma

Toothache can also be caused by trauma to the teeth or jaws. Trauma can occur due to an injury, such as a fall or blow to the mouth. It can also occur due to clenching or grinding of the teeth (bruxism). Trauma can cause pain, sensitivity, and inflammation. 


  • Sinus infection

Sinus infection (sinusitis) is another potential cause of toothache. Sinusitis occurs when the skull sinuses become inflamed and irritated, often due to an infection. Sinusitis can cause pressure and pain in the affected tooth, a stuffy nose and headaches. 


  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

TMJ is a condition that affects the articulations that connect the lower jaw to the bones of the skull. TMJ can cause pain in the teeth and jaw, as well as clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw. 


What is ibuprofen, and how does it help with toothache?

Ibuprofen is a potent nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has proved helpful in treating pain and inflammation, including toothache. This medication works by blocking the enzymes in your body that produce prostaglandins responsible for causing pain and swelling. Unlike other types of painkillers, ibuprofen also helps to reduce fever. While it can provide excellent relief for toothache, following the dosage instructions and not exceeding the maximum daily dose is essential to avoid potentially dangerous side effects. 


What is the recommended dosage of ibuprofen to take?

The suggested daily dosage for ibuprofen for toothache relief is 200-400 mg every four to six hours, with a maximum of 12 doses in any 24 hours. It is essential to remember that ibuprofen should only be used as directed and not exceed the recommended dosage. Additionally, it should be taken for at most three days. If symptoms persist, please consult a medical professional before continuing ibuprofen or switching to an alternative pain relief therapy. 


What forms of ibuprofen are available?

Ibuprofen is most commonly found in tablet form, with dosages ranging from 200mg to 400mg. However, liquid forms are also widely available and can effectively relieve pain if you are having difficulty swallowing tablets. For those with a severe toothache, there is even a prescription-strength version of ibuprofen available in 400 mg oral capsules. 


How fast does ibuprofen work?

Ibuprofen can provide fast relief within 30 minutes of taking the medication, with peak analgesic effects occurring 1 to 2 hours after administration. This effect can vary depending on the dose taken, the individual’s metabolism, and the severity of the condition. 


How long does ibuprofen last for pain?

Ibuprofen can only temporarily relieve pain. The duration of ibuprofen action depends on the individual and will vary greatly. It is generally effective for six hours and can last up to eight hours. 



Does ibuprofen heal or just reduce pain?

While ibuprofen is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug, it does not actually heal toothaches. Rather, it works by reducing inflammation and swelling in the affected area, which in turn provides temporary pain relief. That being said, ibuprofen can be a very effective way to manage toothache pain while you wait for other treatments to take effect. If you’re experiencing a toothache, it’s always necessary to consult your dentist to detect the underlying cause and develop the most suitable treatment plan to address the underlying issue. 


Are there potential side effects of taking ibuprofen for a toothache?

As much as ibuprofen is an effective painkiller, it may come with a few potential side effects. While most of these effects are generally mild and temporary, they can still be quite uncomfortable. For instance, you may experience an upset stomach, nausea or even diarrhea. You may also feel dizzy or drowsy, and your vision may even become blurry. More severe side effects could include internal bleeding or kidney problems, but these are rare and mainly occur if a patient has a previous medical condition.

potential causes teeth pain adelaideNonetheless, it’s always best to consult with your dentist or healthcare provider before taking ibuprofen or any medication for a toothache to ensure that you fully understand any potential side effects and can take the necessary precautions. 

Ibuprofen can be taken for up to three days to relieve toothache, as long as you follow the medical instructions and do not exceed the recommended dose.

If your symptoms persist after this period, consult your dentist or healthcare provider before continuing to use ibuprofen or switching to an alternative pain relief therapy.


 8 Tips for taking ibuprofen to treat a toothache

Taking ibuprofen to manage toothache can be quite safe and effective if done properly. Here are some tips for taking ibuprofen safely:

  1.  Always take the recommended dosage or as directed by your healthcare provider.
  2. Take ibuprofen with food and/or a full glass of milk to prevent stomach upset.
  3. Avoid taking ibuprofen on an empty stomach, as it can cause irritation in the digestive tract.
  4. Take ibuprofen cautiously if you have any existing medical conditions, or take other medicines to avoid potential interactions.
  5.  Monitor your symptoms and talk to your healthcare provider or dentist if you experience any side effects or interruptions in pain relief.
  6.  Do not mix ibuprofen with alcohol, which could increase the risk of stomach irritation and liver damage.
  7.  If symptoms persist after three days of taking ibuprofen, contact your dentist or healthcare provider to discuss other treatment options. 


Is paracetamol better for toothache or ibuprofen?

While both medications can provide relief, they work differently in the body. Paracetamol works by dulling the pain sensation in the brain, while ibuprofen reduces inflammation and swelling and relieves pain peripherally. Depending on the cause of the toothache, one medication may be more effective than the other. However, in general, ibuprofen may be a better option for toothaches caused by inflammation, such as a tooth infection, while paracetamol could be more effective for general tooth pain. 


Alternatives to using ibuprofen for toothache relief

tips taking medications relief teeth adelaideThere are alternative ways to manage toothache that don’t involve pain medications. One such alternative is clove oil, which contains eugenol, a natural pain reliever. Simply apply a small amount of clove oil directly onto the affected area for relief.

Another alternative is to rinse your mouth with salt water, which can help to reduce swelling and soothe any discomfort. Placing a cold compress on the outside of your cheek can also provide temporary relief. 

Additionally, over-the-counter topical gels and ointments can be used to numb the area and alleviate pain. 


Advice on when to see a dentist if the pain persists after taking ibuprofen

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen may offer temporary relief, but it’s important to know when to seek professional help. Dental pain can indicate more serious underlying issues, and any delay in management can lead to further complications. It’s recommended to see a dentist if the pain persists for longer than three days, if it’s accompanied by swelling or fever, or if you recognise any signs of infection, such as pus or redness around the affected area. A dental professional can assess the root cause of the pain and provide appropriate treatment to alleviate your discomfort and prevent future issues. 


What will happen at an emergency appointment with the dentist?

At an emergency dental appointment with the dentist, you should expect a thorough examination and diagnosis of your toothache. Your dentist will evaluate the area for any decay or infection and look for other potential causes, such as fracturing or teeth grinding. They can then suggest appropriate treatment options such as fillings, root canals, extractions, or crowns. Additionally, your dentist may recommend using antibacterial medications or oral rinses to help reduce the symptoms and prevent further complications. It is essential to have all the relevant information before determining the best course of action for your dental health.

To conclude, ibuprofen is a powerful and common over-the-counter medication that can help address toothache. If you feel that ibuprofen isn’t providing enough relief from your current toothache, visit us at Emergency Dentist Adelaide Dr or call us at (08) 7078 8263 to receive a professional assessment and the appropriate treatment. 





9 Methods to Get Rid of Toothache at Night | Medical News Today

Toothache Medicine: The 4 Best OTC Options

Ibuprofen Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD 



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