Cat Videos, Selfies, and…Bad Medical Advice?

shrewsbury-toothachesAh, the Internet. It’s almost impossible to imagine what life would be like if we were suddenly and unjustly deprived of the ability to surf the Web. At our Shrewsbury, MA dentist office, we can appreciate the speed and ease with which we can find information online. On the other hand, we can’t help but side-eye some of the more questionable aspects of online fact-finding – especially when it involves your oral health.

Acid and Teeth: A Bad Idea

If you’re active on Pinterest, online discussion boards, or health and wellness blogs, you may have read about claims that placing an uncoated aspirin on a painful tooth will treat the pain quickly and effectively. Actually, this so-called home remedy isn’t new; it’s been circulating since long before the first webpage was in existence. So what’s the problem?

For starters, look at the name of aspirin: acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA. It’s more than a mouthful, but the problematic word here is acid. As anyone who’s ever popped antacids or grimaced at the thought of reflux will tell you that acid is bad news for your throat and mouth. That burning, unpleasant sensation that comes from stomach acid? Aspirin has a similar effect if not swallowed immediately. We’ve seen several patients who not only failed to find relief from a toothache, but who also suffered painful chemical burns within the mouth.

Why Won’t the Aspirin Toothache Remedy Work?

Like any medication, pain relievers are most effective when taken using the recommended route. A chewable aspirin should be chewed, a tablet should be swallowed, and so on. When you chew or swallow an aspirin, the medicine is absorbed in your intestinal tract. Allowing the medication to dissolve in your mouth means very little of the active ingredient will enter into your bloodstream. The result? No relief for your toothache. Dr. Pizzi jokes that you might achieve more therapeutic benefits from taping an aspirin to your forehead (or not).

What Other Options Are Available for Toothache Relief?

Topical aspirin isn’t the solution, but this doesn’t mean that swallowing an aspirin won’t offer some relief, albeit only temporarily. Analgesics alone are not sufficient to actually treat the underlying cause of the tooth decay, which could be anything from a damaged nerve or decay to an infection or fracture. After examining your tooth and possibly taking x-rays, your Shrewsbury dentist may recommend restorative dental work. Worst case scenario, you may require an extraction. Even then it’s good to know that you have several options for replacing lost or missing teeth, including dental bridges, dentures, and dental implants. Otherwise, dental crowns or fillings may be sufficient.

Need more information about treating tooth pain in Shrewsbury, MA? To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Pizzi, DDS, or one of our doctors, contact us at (508) 842-8838. We welcome patients living in and around Shrewsbury, North and South Grafton, Millbury, Boylston, and the surrounding communities.