See a dentist if you have toothache.

If you don't have a dentist or can't get an emergency appointment, call your local Dental Helpline.

Don't go to your GP. They won't be able to give you dental treatment.

If you have a swelling of the face or mouth as well, visit our Swelling (mouth and face) topic for advice.

What the dentist will do

The dentist will assess your tooth and advise you on the options for treatment.

You may have to pay for your appointment. Read more about NHS dental charges.

What can be done while you wait?

  • take painkillers such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen (follow the dosing instructions on the packet). Remember that different brand names can contain the same painkillers.
  • soft diet and avoid biting on these teeth if they are tender
  • avoid really hot or cold food and drink (e.g. hot drinks, ice cream)

If you need advice on what painkillers to take, contact a dental professional or a pharmacist.


  • eating foods that are sweet, very hot or very cold
  • smoking – it can make some dental problems worse

Causes of toothache

Toothache can be caused by:

  • tooth decay
  • dental abscesses
  • cracked or damaged teeth
  • a loose or broken filling
  • an infection
  • problems with your braces

Referred pain where the source is somewhere different than where the pain is felt can be caused by sinusitis, TMD or ear infection.

How to prevent toothache

The best way to prevent toothache is to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

To do this:

  • have regular dental check-ups
  • cut down on snacking on sugary foods and sugary drinks
  • brush your teeth twice a day for about 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste
  • clean between your teeth using floss or an interdental brush every day

The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website
Last Updated: 06/03/2024 11:32:30