How to Stop Wisdom Tooth Pain (Until You Can Get to the Dentist)
Stop Wisdom Tooth Pain
Maybe you're like me, and you procrastinated far too long in terms of getting a wisdom tooth extraction. Maybe you have severe dental anxiety, maybe you only recently discovered an impacted wisdom tooth, or maybe you've just been busy. Whatever the reason, wisdom tooth pain can range from annoying to downright agonizing. Here are a few tips that have greatly helped me in the past.
Consult a Medical Professional
Always consult your dentist or oral surgeon about wisdom tooth pain. The tips in this article helped me relieve temporary wisdom tooth pain until I was able to get an appointment for proper treatment.
Tip # 1 - Cloves and Clove Oil
The ancient Egyptians used clove oil to treat wisdom tooth pain, and this natural remedy is just as effective today. Many swear by cloves as an even more effective topical anesthetic than the strongest over-the-counter product. You can buy cloves online for a couple of dollars or buy clove oil for a bit more.
Each clove has a small bud that contains rich, analgesic oil. For best results, pop the bud off a clove stem or two and rest it between the the impacted wisdom tooth and its neighbor, then bite down to crush and release the oil. The stems can also be used the same way and actually contain more oil than the buds, but you should use caution because they can be quite hard and sharp. Avoid swallowing the oil or chewing many cloves at once. It really only takes one or two.
Another option is clove oil. The clove oil can be soaked up in a cotton swab and dabbed directly onto the impacted wisdom tooth for immediate wisdom tooth pain relief, or held on the gum. This is a more effective option for cavities, especially those that are hard to reach between teeth, because the oil soaks right into the hole. The taste is bitter, but you should feel some relief right away.
Home Remedies for Wisdom Tooth Pain
Tip # 2 - Bread
Yes, you read that right. Bread is a great temporary home remedy for cavities, and it is especially helpful if you have an infected wisdom tooth with a cavity on top of an already-impacted wisdom tooth. Chew up a small piece of white bread and use it as a temporary filling. The bread keeps air from getting into the cavity and further agitating the exposed nerves.
This trick is also effective if your wisdom tooth has a sharp corner that is digging into your cheek or gum at the wrong angle. It works similarly to the wax pieces the orthodontist gave you to prevent your braces from digging into your cheeks. This can happen a lot when wisdom teeth are first erupting and settling into proper alignment. Use the chewed bread to cover the sharp edge and act as padding between the tooth and your cheek.
Tip # 3 - OTC Oral Pain Relievers
Orajel Instant Pain Relief for Severe Toothache is the only over-the-counter product that has actually worked for me, including other Orajel products. There is usually a $4 mail-in rebate form on the box that you can send in along with your original purchase receipt to lower the cost, but this product is worth every penny when you're in pain! I find that it works best if you pack some of the gel directly into the cavity and rub along the gum line.
Warning: This product is a heavy duty topical anesthetic, so be careful not to fall asleep using it. Anything that comes into contact with the product, including your cheek and tongue, may be too numb to notice if you bite through the skin.
Update: I have recently found that Anbesol Liquid Maximum Strength works just as well, if not better than Orajel. Use it like clove oil and apply a bit to the impacted wisdom tooth, but be careful not to bite your tongue or cheek as it really does numb everything it touches.
Tip # 4 - Ibuprofen
This is by far the best pain reliever for toothache. I've never had a dentist recommend anything else.
Warning: Make sure that you don't have any ibuprofen sensitivities first. Contact your doctor to find out the right dosage if you're looking for relief while waiting on an appointment, as they may have specific recommendations. Ibuprofen is not meant to be taken for an extended period of time without medical supervision, as it can cause stomach bleeding.
If you have been medically approved to take ibuprofen for wisdom tooth pain, be sure to follow your doctor's schedule like clockwork. Analgesics are most effective when taken on time for a limited period as wisdom tooth pain is easier prevent than treat.
Wisdom Tooth Decay
Tip # 5 - Rum
A bit of rum on the tip of a cotton swab applied to the affected gum line or right on the tooth can work wonders on wisdom tooth pain. The rum numbs the area, giving you some much needed relief. In fact, it was historically given regularly to teething infants, but these days it's obviously best reserved for the over-21 crowd.
Tip # 6 - Chewing on a Wet Wash Cloth
For pain relief during the night, I like to wet a clean washcloth and bite down on it while I sleep, or use a mouth guard. The pressure often helps alleviate some of the wisdom tooth pain. Just remember to use a long enough cloth that there's no risk of getting choked on it during the night.
Caring for an Infected Wisdom Tooth
If you have an infected wisdom tooth, it is common for the affected side of your face to get swollen and warm. For me, this feeling is almost as bad as the pain itself. Most dentists and oral surgeons prescribe antibiotics to treat a wisdom tooth infection before surgery, since infection can interfere with your ability to get numb. However, while antibiotics are wonderful at getting rid of infection, it can take some time to work. During that time, you should avoid putting heat on the area. Instead, use a cool compress to soothe and numb the infected wisdom tooth and surrounding tissues.
Another thing to do when caring for an infected wisdom tooth is to always lie on the opposite side of your body. When you lie on one side, blood flows to that side more quickly, which can increase its sensitivity to pain and warmth. Lying on the opposite side may provide you some pain relief and help you sleep through the night.