You’ve got terrible tooth, TMJ, or gum pain! You’ll do anything to make it go away right? I’ve seen people try some really crazy, dangerous, and wildly ineffective things to deal with it. In no particular order, here are some things that you really shouldn’t try for dealing with your dental pain.
- Put aspirin next to your tooth. Not only is this totally ineffective, you also run a really high risk of developing something called an aspirin burn. The technical name for aspirin is “salicylic acid”. Yep, thats right… acid. Leave it on your gums long enough and it will literally break down the skin in the area causing something similar to a burn. This is really painful and will likely hurt worse than your original problem.
- Take more Ibuprofen or Tylenol than the maximum dosage. For Ibuprofen the maximum dosage is 800 mg every 6 hours. Any more than that and you can cause significant kidney damage. People with existing kidney disease or certain GI issues should usually take less. For Tylenol the maximum dosage is 1000 mg every 6 hours. Excess Tylenol can cause severe liver damage.
- Place Orajel next to a tooth with a toothache. Orajel will numb the gum tissue if you have a canker sore but won’t do anything for a real toothache.
- Try to pull your tooth yourself. I know most people would never do this, but pain can make you do some crazy things! I have had several patients who have tried to do this. It’s usually a guy who uses a pair of pliers out of their tool box. Unless they had severe gum disease with no bone left around the tooth, all anyone has ever managed to do is break the top of the tooth off. It almost never takes care of the problem or the pain.
- Mix alcohol and prescription painkillers. Some people think that the combination of prescription painkillers and alcohol will dull the pain better than either alone. Of all the things on this list, this is by far one of the most dangerous. The combination of alcohol and narcotic medication has a strong tendency to suppress your breathing. This can kill you. Just don’t do it!
- Mix anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) and prescription painkillers. This has the same effect as mixing alcohol and prescription painkillers. It can suppress your breathing with complications up to and including death.
- Oil pulling. It just doesn’t work.
- Take someone else’s antibiotic. If you’re going to take antibiotics you need to take a full course of medication. Only taking a couple of pills leads to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. This can be dangerous to you as well as other people.
- Place magnets around an infected area to “heal” it. This is another one of those ideas that won’t cause any damage but won’t help you either.
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