Impacted wisdom teeth may cause pain, aches, and tenderness. Ultimately, removing the wisdom teeth can help resolve these problems.
In the meantime, there are several over-the-counter medical treatments and natural home remedies available.
1. Numbing gel
A numbing dental gel may help reduce feeling in the gums and dull the pain. These gels are available over the counter and contain the active ingredient benzocaine.
Most dental gels can be applied directly to the affected gums throughout the day. However, it is important for a person to follow the instructions included in the product. Also, it is possible to be allergic to benzocaine.
Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain relief medication that helps reduce inflammation.
Taking the recommended dose on the packet may help relieve discomfort. It can also reduce inflammation of the gums associated with wisdom teeth development.
Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may be effective pain management until a person can see a dentist for treatment.
3. Ice pack
Applying an ice pack to the jaw can help reduce inflammation, which in turn may relieve pain. Using ice can also have a numbing effect.
A person can try holding an ice pack with a tea towel around it against their jaw for up to 15 minutes.
The ice pack can be applied off and on with 15 minute breaks until the pain has subsided.
4. Salt water rinse
Woman gargling and rinsing her mouth with salt water.
Rinsing the mouth with salt water several times a day may help to reduce symptoms such as pain.
Salt water has natural disinfectant properties. A 2010 study showed that rinsing the mouth with salt water can help reduce bacteria.
Sometimes, a build-up of bacteria in the broken gums around wisdom teeth can be the cause of pain. As such, rinsing with salt water may help treat the infection and reduce the discomfort.
To make the salt water rinse, a person can dissolve a few tablespoons of salt into a glass of freshly boiled water. When the water has cooled slightly, it can be swirled around the mouth for several minutes, then spat out.
A person may want to rinse their mouth with salt water two or three times a day, or until the pain starts to reduce.
Research into the effectiveness of cloves to relieve wisdom tooth pain is positive. A 2006 study showed that there is promise for cloves as a topical pain reliever due to their numbing effect.
To try this home remedy, a person can use a whole clove or clove oil. If using a whole clove they should:
place the clove over the wisdom tooth that is causing pain
hold it in place by closing their jaw, but without chewing
leave it there until the pain reduces and then spit it out
To try this remedy using clove oil, a person can:
put a few drops of clove oil on a ball of cotton wool
put the cotton wool on the wisdom tooth that is causing pain
hold the cotton wool in place until the pain reduces and then remove it
A 2007 study found that onions have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These advantages of onions mean they can help reduce swelling and fight bacterial infections.
To use onions as a home remedy, a person should:
cut off a piece of onion
chew the onion on the side of the mouth that has the pain
keep chewing for a few minutes until pain reduces and then spit out the onion
This process allows the juice from the onion to go into the gum so that it can reduce inflammation and bacteria.
7. Tea bags
Teabag in a cup of herbal tea.
Tea bags should only be placed in the mouth when completely cooled.
A 2016 study found that tannins contained in tea bags have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This means tea bags may help reduce swelling and fight bacterial infections.
To use tea bags as a home remedy, a person should make a cup of tea and put the cup in the fridge with the tea bag left in it. Once the tea is cold, the tea bag can be taken out and placed inside the mouth where the pain is located.