3 Ways to Soothe Your Aching Teeth Before a Root Canal

If you're going in for a root canal, it's very likely that you're experiencing significant pain. Root canals are only done when the root cannot be saved—when the tooth itself has been so damaged and become so inflamed that it needs to be removed entirely. This is very painful. Most dentists will schedule a root canal for as soon as possible, but it may still be a while before you can get in. Here are a few methods of relief. 

1. Bite on a Cotton Ball Full of Clove Oil

The first suggestion your dentist is likely to give you is to saturate a cotton ball with clove oil and gently bite down on it. Do not put pressure; just bite until the clove oil is in place. Clove oil is natural, edible and greatly relieves pain. Many dentists even use clove oil during wisdom teeth extractions. It's helpful because it won't numb the rest of your mouth and it will act quickly, though it does have a slightly sharp, bitter taste.

2. Rinse With Warm Salt Water

A warm salt water rinse isn't just numbing—it also disinfects. But you want to do it gently. The water should be salty to taste and about room temperature. Warm it up by holding it in your mouth and then swish from side to side. Spit out and then repeat. You should feel your tongue and mouth going slightly numb. You can do this over and over again—just make sure you don't swallow or you could upset your stomach a little.

3. Use a Topical Ointment but Not a Sealant 

There are topical ointments that you can use that will deaden your teeth. These numbing solutions are very powerful, so make sure you don't get them on your tongue! But what you should not do is use a sealant. There are "temporary fillings" that you can theoretically use to seal your tooth cavity and protect it, but most dentists frown on these as they can harbor bacteria. 

Apart from the above, the best thing to do is get your root canal done as soon as possible. You really shouldn't experience intense pain following a root canal, just some aching of the surrounding gums. If you do experience pain, you should consult your dentist right away because it means that some nerve material has been left behind. The process of the root canal removes the inner nerve roots, so no pain should even be possible.