Root canal is a medical term used to define the dental procedure for the treatment of an infection located within the centre of the affected tooth. Since the centre of the tooth houses the roots of the teeth, the process is referred to as a root canal procedure. Its medical name, however, is endodontics.
There are many factors that lead to such an infection. This usually happens when resident bacteria in the mouth invade the tooth and start to cause pain. It is a very common occurrence when teeth start decaying as well as the use of leaking fillings after a procedure is carried out. Infections may also arise from damaged teeth as occurs following trauma to the jaw.
To understand why root canal treatment is carried out, it is important to know the basic structure of the tooth. Teeth are made up of the following parts: enamel, dentine and pulp. The enamel is the hard outer coating, while the dentine is a little softer and provides support for the enamel.
Dental pulp on the other hand, is extremely soft tissue located at the centre of the tooth. Consequently, the root canal system contains the dental pulp that stretches from the tip of the root to the crown of the tooth. Root canal treatment is needed when the pulp is damaged by the infection.
In such cases, the pulp dies and the bacteria multiply. This is characterized by pain when indulging in hot or cold food, loose teeth and some people may experience pain when chewing. As the infection spreads through the root canal system, one may notice pus coming from the affected teeth, may experience gum swelling and even darkening of the teeth. This is why a root canal procedure is extremely important.
Suffice to say, this procedure is usually accompanied by some level of pain and discomfort especially if there was sensitivity prior to the procedure. Below are some simple home remedies that you may incorporate to manage root canal pain while ensuring you make a quick recovery.
1. Ice Pack:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: A handful of ice cubes and a clean towel.
An ice pack is one of the simplest and best ways to address root canal pain. The low temperatures found in the ice sooth the swollen gums and go a long way in reducing the inflammation. What’s more, the ice has a radiating effect that reaches the bone level and provides much needed relief from the pressure and pain of the affected nerves. The thing to remember when using ice packs is that there should be no direct contact between the ice and the skin as this can easily cause frost bite. Additionally, do not use the ice pack for more than 20 minutes at a go because this predisposes you to the risk of frostbites. Follow the simple directions below to make the most of this remedy.
- Place the ice cubes on the towel and wrap to hold in place.
- Place the pack on the affected tooth and let it stay there for a few minutes before removing it.
- After 10-15 minutes, or once the ice starts to melt, take a short break.
- Use this home remedy severally daily until you manage to keep the root canal pain under control.
2. Salt Water Gargle:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of salt and 1 glass of warm water.
Salt water gargle is a timeless home remedy for the management of teeth problems, which is exactly why it is recommended for the management of root canal pain. Salt is antiseptic by nature, and helps to kill off infection-causing bacteria in the mouth. This makes it a perfect accompaniment after a root canal procedure. Use this remedy severally during the day to get the most out of the salty water.
- Place 1 tablespoon of salt in a glass of water and stir for complete dissolution.
- Sip the warm salty water and hold it in the mouth.
- Make sure the infected tooth has access to the water for the salt’s healing properties.
- Spit this mixture and repeat once more.
- Follow the simple steps several times in a day for the remedy to be effective.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Cloves of garlic, pestle and mortar and warm water to rinse. Lemon juice (optional).
Enjoy the benefits of garlic’s healing benefits to treat root canal pain. Garlic is a potent antibacterial and anti-fungal, which is why it comes in handy for this kind of infection. It works as a natural antibiotic, and is great at relieving pain. The most important thing to note when using garlic is to ensure that it remains crushed before application. This is because garlic is only effective when crushed to release the active ingredients, mainly allicin. Prepare the remedy by following the simple directions below.
- Peel and clean the garlic cloves before crushing using a pestle and mortar in order to release the active ingredients.
- Place the minced garlic on the affected tooth, making sure there is direct contact between the two.
- If you can, hold the garlic between the teeth and allow the extract to permeate the gum.
- Spit the garlic and repeat once more.
- Rinse the mouth with warm water. If you find the pungent smell of garlic to be a put-off, you can always use lemon juice to use your hand after you are done with the procedure.
- Use this remedy severally daily until you are able to manage the pain.
4. Pepper and Salt:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Teaspoon each of pepper powder and salt as well as warm water.
Did you know that dried pepper has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that come in handy in the control of root canal pain? Contrary to popular belief that the pepper’s hot taste will make the pain worse, pepper actually helps provide pain relief after a root canal procedure. Add this to the salt’s antiseptic properties and you have a potent combination that helps ease the discomfort. Prepare this easy remedy and use twice daily to eliminate root canal pain.
- Mix the salt and pepper powder until you have a uniform mixture.
- Add a few drops of water to prepare a coarse paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected tooth.
- Make sure it remains there for a few minutes before gargling and rinsing with warm water.
- Use this remedy at least twice daily to get much needed relief from root canal pain.
5. Used Teabags:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Teabags and a cup of hot water.
One of the best things that you can do for yourself when dealing with root canal pain is to use a teabag. The next time you have to deal with the pain post-treatment, remember not to toss the teabags out. Used teabags are beneficial because they have astringent properties which help keep the swelling down and numb the gum for a couple of minutes. All you need for this remedy is a glass of hot water and teabags.
- Place the teabags in the cup of hot water for a few minutes and let them steep for a few minutes.
- Squeeze the excess water and put the teabags on the affected tooth.
- Hold the teabags down for about 5 minutes.
- Discard the teabags and repeat the procedure severally until you are able to manage the root canal pain.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Cucumber slices
Cucumber slices are an excellent home remedy for the management of root canal pain, thanks to their pain relieving properties. There is a reason why the simile is said ‘cool as a cucumber’, and these are the healing properties that come in handy following a tooth infection. Using cucumber slices is pretty easy and straight forward.
- Place the cucumber slices on the affected teeth so that there is direct contact between the two.
- This allows the cucumber’s healing properties to soothe the infected tooth and numb the swollen gum to provide pain relief.
- Use this remedy as often as you need to.
Time Required: 5-10 Min
What You Need: 2 Drops of clove oil and cotton wool; piece of clove.
Clove is regarded as one of the best natural remedies for the management of tooth infections as its active ingredients are both anti-inflammatory and have antiseptic properties. Use clove to fight off infections and ease the pain that accompanies this condition. You can use clove oil or a piece of clove for this home remedy as discussed in the directions below.
NOTE: Do not leave on the clove for more than 5 minutes as this can cause harm to the gums.
- Place two drops of clove oil on the cotton wool and place the wet wool on the affected teeth.
- Remove the wet wool and discard after 5 minutes.
- Alternatively, place the piece of clove on the affected tooth and hold in place for about five minutes.
- Use either options severally daily until the root canal pain is well managed.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of vinegar and cotton wool.
Harness the healing properties of vinegar and use this kitchen ingredient to get much-needed relief from root canal pain. The vinegar’s healing powers rest in its acidic properties that create a toxic environment for the bacteria to survive in the body. What’s more, vinegar is able to create a balance in the pH levels of the body, warding off bacterial populations that thrive and cause infection. All you need for this remedy is vinegar and some cotton wool for the application process.
- Soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and squeeze the excess liquid.
- Place the wet cotton wool on the infected tooth and leave it in place for some 10-15 minutes.
- Discard the used cotton wool and repeat this procedure severally during the day to treat root canal pain.
9. Baking Soda:
Time Required: 5-10 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of baking soda and 1 cup of water.
Take advantage of the healing properties found in baking soda and use this common kitchen ingredient to treat root canal pain. This is because baking soda is packed with antibacterial properties that help deal with increased bacterial population and thus contain the spread of the infection. Just like vinegar, baking soda also maintains a balance in the pH values within the mouth. Use the simple steps below to get the most of baking soda in treating root canal pain.
- Place a small amount of baking soda in a glass of water.
- Use this solution as gargle solution to clean the mouth.
- The other option involves soaking a cotton ball in the solution and placing it on the infected tooth.
Additional remedies that can be used to treat root canal pain include olive oil for its anti-inflammatory properties, hydrogen peroxide for its disinfectant properties as well as potato whose soothing properties make it an ideal remedy. In addition to these solutions, it is also important to maintain oral hygiene to reduce the risk of infections.
Avoid taking sugary items as this predisposes your teeth to decay and infection. Following root canal treatment, it is advisable to steer clear of extremely hot or cold drinks. Remember to seek medical attention should you notice changes in the colour of your teeth, increased sensations when chewing as well as bad mouth odor. Regular dental check-ups also go a long way in preventing tooth decay as any changes can be detected early enough for intervention.