I can’t afford to go to a dentist right now, but I’ve had a toothache building for a little over a week. I need to treat it at home for now. I did some research online and everything kept coming back to clove oil as being my best shot, so I picked some of that up and started using it alongside ibuprofen. To my surprise, it actually does seem to take the edge off a little. I’m not keen on the taste, but I certainly feel like it’s doing some good. Are there any other essential oils I can be using to treat my toothache? Or is this kind of it for now?
Some essential oils are shown to have dental health benefits and possibly even assist with a toothache, but before we get into those, let’s break down what’s happening.
A Toothache is a Signal Something’s Wrong
Toothaches can occur for lots of reasons, but they’re a big sign that something is wrong with a tooth. On the lower end of things, it could mean a filling or other restoration is damaged. In which case, nothing you do at home will correct it. The restoration needs to be replaced. It could mean you have a big cavity. Again, this also needs treatment from a dentist—it will continue to grow until the decay is removed and the tooth is repaired. It could mean you have a cracked tooth. The fix here is typically a crown. It could also mean there’s an infection, and this is probably the most worrisome of all. See, your teeth normally have blood flowing in and out of them. When there’s an infection or that flow is cut off, the tooth “dies.” Anything inside it begins to stagnate, giving bacteria a place to thrive. If there wasn’t an infection to begin with, let’s say your tooth got hit and it broke off the connection, then an infection will eventually form. If an infection was already present, it will grow. You’ll eventually wind up with an abscess, facial swelling, and other issues. Believe it or not, people still die from these types of infections. Now, because the tooth is no longer vital, the only way to remove the dead inner chamber is to perform a root canal. You can take antibiotics to temporarily kill the infection, but it will always come back until that space harboring bacteria is cleaned out and filled.
Always Treat a Toothache as a Dental Emergency
Because infections can spread rapidly and are so dangerous, toothaches should always be treated promptly. You mentioned money being an issue. There are two ways to address this. First, you can get the exam and go on antibiotics if they’re necessary. That will give you some time to save up, but bear in mind, you could only be looking at a matter of weeks or a month or so. Everyone is different, so there’s no giving an exact amount of time. Secondly, you can work with a local dentist who offers financial arrangements. Some will accept payment plans or work with CareCredit, a financing company that works similar to a credit card, but can only be used for medical/ dental services. Many will also help you stagger work, so you don’t have to pay for everything all at once. For example, maybe you need a root canal and crown. You could potentially go in for the root canal this month and the crown next month. Lastly, if you’re really struggling, none of these options will work, and you don’t know if/ when you can pay to repair the tooth, you can ask the dentist to extract it. It’s not ideal, but you really can’t live with an infection forever. It will eventually cause big problems for you.
Essential Oils to Relieve a Toothache
Essential oils cannot “treat” or “cure” a toothache. None of them address the underlying causes of one, so they can only be used to help relieve the symptoms. You should still see a dentist immediately.
However, we’ll give a quick overview of some of the popular ones and break down what they do.
- Clove Oil: Research shows it has anti-inflammatory benefits and is an analgesic (numbing agent). It is also known to kill certain strains of bacteria.
- Eucalyptus Oil: There are many benefits associated with eucalyptus oil, such as the reduction of pain and inflammation as well as germ-killing properties.
- Cinnamon Oil: Research indicates it can kill bacteria, including the type that causes tooth decay.
- Mint Oil: There are many types of mints, from spearmint through peppermint. They vary in their abilities, but many are known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Citrus Oil: Lime, grapefruit, and orange oils kill bacteria. Lime also helps with inflammation and orange helps with pain.
- Myrrh Oil: Originally used in embalming by the ancient Egyptians because it kills bacteria, newer studies show it diminishes inflammation
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Steve Sirin, an Elgin dentist offering same-day emergency dental appointments.