Wisdom Teeth

  • Medical Author:
    Steven B. Horne, DDS

    Dr. Steve Horne began his career at Brigham Young University obtaining his BA in English. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 2007 from the University of Southern California where his pursuit for academic excellence landed him on the Dean's List. He was recognized for his superior clinical skills and invited to help teach other dental students in courses on restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, and tooth anatomy. During dental school, he provided dental care for underserved populations of Los Angeles and Orange County, Mexico, and Costa Rica with AYUDA. Following dental school, Dr. Horne entered active duty with the U.S. Army and practiced dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for four years. During this time, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and received multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and served as Company Commander. Dr. Horne currently practices full time at Torrey Pines Dental Arts in La Jolla, California, as a general dentist. Dr. Horne is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Horne is married to his wife, Christy, and they have a chocolate Labrador named Roscoe.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Are home remedies effective for treating wisdom tooth pain?

A variety of home remedies have been suggested for help with symptomatic wisdom teeth. While home remedies can be helpful if used to provide temporary relief, they are not alternatives to seeking a diagnosis and proper treatment from a licensed dentist or oral surgeon. With prolonged use, they can actually worsen the condition by making the symptom less noticeable while allowing the source of infection, tooth decay, or pain increase until it spreads or causes more severe consequences.

In certain situations, however, the following home remedies can be helpful:

  1. Clove oil: Clove oil contains eugenol, which is a natural numbing agent. Place a few drops on a cotton ball and place it adjacent to the area causing pain. If used for very long, it can cause irritation or burns to the tongue or other tissues, and the pain will return soon after removing the clove.
  2. Saltwater: Saltwater has a cleansing effect that battles bacterial infections. If a wisdom tooth has pericoronitis or another type of abscess, a saltwater rinse can help clean the infected area until the source is treated. Dissolve a small amount of salt in warm water and swish for 30 seconds one to two times per day. This can also help after wisdom teeth are removed to help keep the sockets free from debris and infection. Saltwater won't permanently cure an infection if the source is a poorly positioned or decayed wisdom tooth.
  3. Garlic: Garlic also works to stop the growth of bacteria that cause infections. Make a paste with minced garlic and salt and apply it to the problem area to help control an infection until a dentist can diagnose the condition. The strong odor of garlic is difficult to withstand for too long though.
  4. Tea bag: Various types of tea have natural properties that can help problems associated with wisdom tooth pain and extraction. Peppermint tea has numbing properties and can provide temporary relief of pain by applying a cooled tea bag to the painful site. Black tea contains tannic acid, which helps stop bleeding by inducing clot formation. If a wisdom tooth has been extracted and the bleeding won't stop with pressure after an hour, place a moistened tea bag on the bleeding area and bite down gently to provide pressure.

Again, people should contact a dentist as soon as possible as the above home remedies will not cure the underlying problem and may mask a more serious condition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016

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