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poisonedantidote's avatar

How to sleep while in severe pain?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21544 points ) November 25th, 2012

At the moment of writing this, I have been awake for just over 70 hours now, and I really need to sleep.

The problem is I have a bad tooth. I have been to the doctor, and have been given pain killers, antibiotics and some other medication.

However, I have been taking the medication for almost 3 days now, and I am still not able to stop the pain unless I keep my mouth full of cold water.

The nerve in the tooth has started to die, and it feels like I am being stabbed in the face unless I keep my mouth full of cool water.

I have instructions from the doctor to take the medicine, then go to an appointment that has been set with my dentist. All I need is something that will help me get some sleep for now.

Any ideas?

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20 Answers

yankeetooter's avatar

This tough…I went through this a little while ago. Until I finally got to the dentist, I tried several things…but the key seemed to be keeping air from getting to the nerve. I had an abscessed cavity…he put a temporary filling in, but when that wore away, the pain started getting worse again. I actually went to the drug store and bought some temporary filling to insert in the gap until I made it to the dentist…this helped for a while…

Best wishes…there is no worse pain in the world…

Unbroken's avatar

Smash you finger.

OK my sympathy, evil is coming out. I would try music. It is a great healer.

Um if you are desperate, you should be willing to try this I would try to you tube healing brain entrainment and or deep sleep reiki meditation. I swear by it. But I can understand skepticism.

Best of luck.

Pandora's avatar

Only recommendation I have is keep putting ambesol on it and try to sleep almost sitting up. Ear aches, sinuses and toothaches hurt worse when laying down. I guess your blood pressure in the head is stonger when laying down. When ever I had either, I found it easier just to sleep in a comfy easy chair.
Hope it gets better soon.

wildpotato's avatar

It sucks you are in so much pain! I’ve been there; teeth are a bitch. The only thing that helped me other than painkillers was swishing – and, of course, swallowing – whiskey. But be careful about mixing the two…

Really, it sounds to me as though you should have stronger painkillers. Can you page your doctor and have her write you a better script? I know it’s late, but this definitely counts as a reason to page.

Jeruba's avatar

All I can offer is sympathy. I remember being told that nobody falls asleep after labor pains start. But I did. I went into labor around 11 p.m. and lay down and fell asleep while having contractions. My husband finally managed to get me up around 1:00 a.m. to go to the hospital.

But with a toothache—nope, forget it, couldn’t do it. And I have had some major toothaches in my time.

So—sympathy and a piece of advice: please have someone else drive you to the dentist. If you haven’t slept, you’re not safe to drive.

Please come back afterward and let us know you’re okay.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@wildpotato I am already on the strongest medication I can be given for this, the next step up would literally be morphine. I am using 5ML injectables of metamizol. I have had bad tooth ache in the past, and metamizol has always got rid of the pain within seconds to minutes. This time however, the pain is just insisting on sticking around.

Having said that, the sun is coming up now, and as the light comes up and the dark leaves, I can feel the pain decreasing a little. Maybe I will get a chance to sleep after all.

Thanks all.

jerv's avatar

Metamizol… banned here (US) ~35 years ago, and also not really a pain-killer anyways. For pain, Vicodin is far better, and the only thing that has ever really worked for me.

deni's avatar

Teeth do suck, dammit. Have you tried copious amounts of Orajel to numb the area, even just long enough to get to sleep? I have heard powdered nutmeg is what they did in the olden days, if you are desperate and happen to have some around I’d give it a try. I truly sympathize. Good luck.

wildpotato's avatar

@poisonedantidote Well, metamizol is only a non-opiate analgesic. Injectable or no, it seems to be on about the same painkilling level as high doses of ibuprofen and paracetamol. Maybe it is time to try an opiate. @jerv is correct about Vicoden – here in the States, I don’t think it would occur to docs to not prescribe an opiate analgesic for the kind of pain you describe. At any rate, if the metamizol has stopped working for whatever reason, that means it’s time to try something else.

@jerv It is a real painkiller. The reason it was banned back then would probably not get it banned today – agranulocytosis is not as big a risk for it as they thought it was back in the 70s, and more people die from complications from taking aspirin than from metamizol. My source is Wiki.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if you swish xylocaine in your mouth it will numb it? Here’s the thing, you are not supposed to sleep if you have swallowed xylocaine, so you would need it to be applied right where your problem is and not let it go to the back of your throat. There are also sprays like hurricane that can be put right on a specific area. Both are prescriptions in America. If your dentist seems clueless I would speak to a pharmacist about possible options.

At minimum choleresteptic, the throat spray, might help. You can take a teaspoon of it, hold it in the area of the tooth then swallow or just spit it out. In fact if you are sptting it out you can use more obviously.

jerv's avatar

@wildpotato I don’t consider Aspirin a painkiller either. It has uses, but as an anti-inflammatory. While reducing inflammation often has the side effect of reducing pain, any painkilling effects are secondary/coincidental. Yes, I know it’s listed as an analgesic, but I disagree with that assessment.

gailcalled's avatar

Chloraseptic spray is used for sore throats and would not trump an Rx pain med, particularly 5ML injectables of metamizol.

@poisonedantidote: it is now Monday afternoon where you are; have you been able to get to your dentist?

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Who is talking about trump? I’m trying to get him some temporary relief. You would be amazed how many doctors don’t think to give topical relief. I have only ever heard of one doctor prescribing xylocaine for very severe sore throat due to strep. I can’t for the life of me understand why they don’t do it. Chloroseptic the OP might have in his medicine cabinet. When I had sever ulcers in my esophogus the doctor prescribed me meds, but when I called a day or two later about continuing pain he told me to take a teaspoon of chloreseptic a few times a day to help and it did help quite a bit. I don’t know if it will help the OP, since that is a different type of pain.

And, why not address your comment to me, since I am the one who brought up chloresteptic? And, how do you feel about using Orajel?

Unbroken's avatar

Yes we are wondering how you faired through the night and how you treated your ortho before and after treatment.

Jeruba's avatar

ortho?

Unbroken's avatar

Orthodontist. I realized later it could be construed as orthopedics etc but it was to late. Trust you to point it out Jeruba, gives me a chance to clarify. Thanks.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I managed to get to sleep about 10am Monday morning, it is now 1am Tuesday , and I have just woken up.

The pain is now gone, looks like the antibiotics finally worked.

I have 3 or 4 more days of antibiotics to take, then it is off to the dentist. They wont see me until I complete the antibiotics course.

Thanks for all the advice and tips.

JLeslie's avatar

Good to hear, I’m glad you have relief now.

wildpotato's avatar

@poisonedantidote Glad you are feeling better, and good luck with the root canal! If you have any questions about it or about the crowning, ask away :)

saska's avatar

Okay, this will sound weird but.. whenever my mom gets a toothache, she takes a couple of cloves and chews on them with the side the toothache is on. Apparently the oil is supposed to numb the pain. It always works for her. Worth a shot? (I just read your pain’s been cured – congrats! – but posting this anyway in case someone else finds it helpful. :) )

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