How to relieve painful wisdom teeth?

October 16, 2019 by Dr Kristian van Mourik

How to relieve painful wisdom teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause symptoms such as swelling, pain and tenderness. If this occurs it is often recommended to have them removed.

Before surgical removal, the following at home remedies can be tried to assist the relief of pain.

Salt water rinse

Salt is a natural disinfectant which impairs bacteria growth. Rinsing with salt water can help to clean debris around infected wisdom teeth and reduce inflammation.  This in turn may reduce pain.

Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water, rinse for 1 minute a couple of times a day.


Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is available over the counter at pharmacies. Ibuprofen helps to reduce pain and inflammation.

Take the recommended dose to help relieve discomfort and gum inflammation.

Ice pack

Ice can help to reduce inflammation, swelling and therefore reduce pain. It can also have a numbing effect.

Use a cold pack or fill a plastic bag with ice and wrap in a tea towel.  Apply to the outside of your face adjacent to the affected area for 15 minutes. Wait 15 minutes than reapply. Repeat throughout the day.

Numbing gel

Dental numbing gels (containing benzocaine) can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies. You apply them to the gum surrounding the painful wisdom tooth. It is important to follow the product instructions


In most cases home remedies are only assist in the short term and surgical removal of your teeth will be recommended by your dentist.

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