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Wisdom teeth are late bloomers that have to push against the existing teeth to make room for themselves.
Due to inadequate space, wisdom teeth may erupt partially (partially impacted wisdom teeth) or may not erupt at all (fully impacted wisdom teeth), often causing pain.
A growing wisdom tooth can hurt so intensely that it often warrants extraction, but some pain can persist even after the surgery.
Home Remedies for Wisdom Tooth Pain
The following measures can help relieve the pain and swelling triggered by a growing wisdom tooth as well as the discomfort experienced after getting the tooth removed.
1. Try cold therapy
Putting an ice pack on your cheek for 15-20 minutes can help reduce post-operative swelling, inflammation, and discomfort.
2. Gargle with saltwater
Mix 1 cup of water and 1 tsp salt, and use this solution to rinse your mouth gently. Use cold water for the first 24 hours after surgery and warm water thereafter. (1)
3. Use OTC medications
Taking paracetamol and analgesics, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, can help relieve the pain. Refrain from using aspirin if you are under the age of 20 years.
While ibuprofen is preferred for wisdom tooth pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties, both paracetamol and ibuprofen can be effective. They can be taken together if required. (2)
4. Use clove
Additionally, it is an antibacterial and antiseptic agent that helps prevent infection. For this purpose, both the oil and buds can be used. (3)
How to use: Dab clove oil on a cotton ball or swab and apply on the affected area.
5. Apply garlic
Garlic possesses many medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce wisdom tooth pain. Garlic can also aid in the delay or prevention of bacterial infections. (4)
How to use: Crush a few garlic cloves and mix in some sea salt. Apply this paste to the affected area. Alternatively, you may place a peeled clove on the tooth and bite on it gently.
6. Try turmeric mouthwash
It has been used as an Ayurvedic medicine against toothache for long. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent that aids in preventing tooth decay from bacterial infection and improves gum health.
It is vital to note that the use and efficacy of these home remedies still need to be determined with further extensive studies. You may consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies.
7. Use apple cider vinegar
Diluted ACV has been popularly used as a home remedy for relieving tooth pain. However, further direct studies are required to conclude the efficacy of ACV. (6)
8. Try oil pulling
While there is not much research on the benefits of oil pulling, it is seen to improve oral hygiene and help prevent oral cavities. (7)
How to perform: Swish one tablespoon of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes in the early morning.
9. Rinse with essential oils
It is seen that thyme, peppermint, and tea tree essential oils can help control oral pathogens and associated pain. (8) However, further studies are required to establish their use and efficacy.
How to use: Add two drops of the essential oil in a glass of water and rinse your mouth with it.
Note: Always consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies. Avoid these remedies if you are allergic to any of these substances.
Post-operative care is just as important as the surgery itself in avoiding infection, pain, and swelling at the site of extraction. Follow these guidelines to help the operated site heal well and quickly:
- Apply a cold compress externally for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to aid in clot formation and to reduce inflammation and swelling. (9)
- Consume easy-to-chew soft foods for a few days.
- Abstain from smoking cigarettes for at least 1-week post-extraction to avoid a dry socket. The most common reason for a dry socket is smoking.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol.
- Do not perform strenuous activities for a few days.
- Refrain from having hot drinks for 24 hours after the extraction, as this may increase bleeding from the extraction site.
- Refrain from touching the extraction socket with your tongue or finger as this will dislodge the clot.
- The day after surgery, mildly rinse your mouth with salt water after meals to help remove stuck food particles.
- Ask your doctor to prescribe a pain-reliving medication in case you experience unbearable pain.
- Maintain appropriate oral hygiene to prevent delayed healing.
Preventing Wisdom Tooth Problems
Taking good care of emerging wisdom teeth can help prevent infection, pain, and decay. Follow these tips to avoid any wisdom tooth problems:
- Floss your teeth properly, especially between the wisdom tooth and tooth adjacent to it.
- Make sure to brush your wisdom teeth at the back of your mouth.
- Follow a proper oral health care regimen.
Mild to moderate wisdom tooth pain can be managed through specialized mouthwashes and oral cleaning techniques along with effective home therapies and pain-relieving medication.
However, if the pain fails to subside or becomes progressively worse despite this preliminary care, you should consult your doctor about getting tooth extraction surgery.