Toothache remedy: Tea Bag Poultice
What could be more daunting than developing a toothache Friday afternoon and not being able to schedule an appointment until Monday morning? Oh no! Really? A whole weekend of toothache? What to do?
I had enough Costco sized bottles of Over the Counter pain meds to make myself sick but would they be strong enough to carry me through to Monday? I doubted it. I pleaded my case to the young girl separating me from my dentist. I pointed out that I had spent thousands of dollars on dental care the past 30 years and that I would likely spend thousands more dollars in the next 30 years. My pleas did me no good. It was just me and the tooth left to fend for ourselves for 60 hours. How would we fare?
I thought about every irresponsible option at my disposable. I could drink heavily but that would make me sick. I could chew aspirin by the fistful but that, too, would make me sick. I could crawl into bed and moan all weekend but what is the point of that? The idea is to cut the pain not let the tooth get the better of me. Besides that, I had better stuff to do over the weekend than lie around moaning.
I was surprisingly OK Friday night and Saturday. I hurt but a dozen aspirin kept me functioning. By Saturday evening I was slowly taking on the appearance of a chipmunk. Not only was my cheek swollen but the roof of my mouth had become so puffy I could barely swallow. I was in serious pain. Aspirin would not put a dent in this!
I dreaded the night until I remembered an old toothache remedy. "Would it help," I wondered, "or was it simply an old wives tale?" I ever so vaguely remember hearing that black tea bags make a wonderful poultice for drawing out infections. Could it work? If not, would it hurt? I decided anything was better than the pain that was taking over my face.
To make a tea bag poultice, I dipped a Red Rose tea bag into a cup of boiling water. I pulled it straight out, pressed the water out and wrapped the hot bag in a strip of gauze. When the bag had cooled just enough to not burn the roof I my mouth I placed it on the puffy center of pain. I held it in place for 15 minutes and then replaced it with a second hot tea bag. I think any brand of black tea bag would work just fine. i just happened to have Red Rose in my pantry. I finally wrapped up my treatment with a poultice made from a Echinacea tea bag. At the end of my 45 minute poultice treatment the puffiness had all but vanished and the pain had dissipated. My cheek was still quite tender to the touch but a reasonable dose of 2 aspirin took care of that so I could sleep.
I woke up Sunday morning to more pain that was quickly resolved with a second round of tea bag poultices. The toothache has not been resolved and I will see my dentist in the morning but in the meantime I am grateful for simple remedies. How blessed I am that I am a tea drinker and not a coffee drinker. After all., who has ever heard of a coffee poultice?
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