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Getting Relief For Gangrenous Pulp Pain

Permanent pain relief for gangrenous pulp pain requires a root canal which is done by a dentist. If you attempt home remedies, they will only temporarily alleviate the pain. With that being said, we need to first explain what this condition is and why professional treatment is needed.

Table of Contents:

What is a gangrenous pulp?

A gangrenous pulp is an unhealthy tooth pulp that is in the process of dying or is already dead. If it is the latter, it is considered a dead tooth which is non-vital or necrotic.

tooth abscess diagram

As you may have already imagined, a tooth nerve that is dying is probably an extremely painful process. That isn't unique to just your teeth because any living organism that is dying will be experiencing pain. Your teeth are no exception.


There is a plethora of etiology which may have led to the nerve becoming gangrenous. We'll list a couple here just to give you an idea.

  • Tooth decay into the pulp

  • Fractured tooth

  • An infection or abscess

  • Dead tooth from trauma

These all involve some type of injury or insult to the pulp of your tooth.

How to tell if you have it

It is quite simple to determine if you've gangrenous pulp pain because the symptoms are identical to irreversible pulpitis.

Signs & symptoms:

  • Random and spontaneous pain.

  • Patients often describe it as a toothache that comes and goes.

  • Throbbing type of pain that lingers and lingers some more.

  • Can be sharp or dull in nature.

  • Pain that wakes you up at night.

  • Sensitive to cold, hot, sour, sweet, spicy, or acidic foods/beverages.

  • There is no rhyme or reason as to when the symptoms are triggered.

  • Can hurt even if you're not doing anything!

How do you stop gangrenous pulp pain?

There are literally only two ways that your dentist can stop pulp pain that is gangrenous. You either need a root canal or a tooth extraction.

Root canal

A root canal is an endodontic dental procedure that mechanically removes the nerve from the tooth. Once it has been taken out, the tooth will be considered dead since it is now nerveless.

tooth after root canal
tooth after root canal

The benefit of this is that it permanently alleviates your pain since the tooth no longer has a nerve, it can't feel sensations anymore.

root canal steps diagram

After the nerve has been completely removed, the canals will be disinfected. Afterwards it will be filled in with a root filling material called gutta percha to seal it.

However, your treatment isn't complete after the procedure is finished because you still need to do a core build up and then place a crown on the tooth to protect it. You didn't think it was that easy did you?

Tooth extraction

An alternative way to eliminate a necrotic nerve is by getting a tooth extraction. This dental procedure will remove the entire tooth along with the nerve inside of it from your jaw bone.

tooth extraction
tooth extraction

This is different from the root canal because it is more invasive. The overall superstructure of the tooth gets preserved in the mouth with the endodontic treatment. For the extraction, you'll have a missing tooth in the socket once the procedure is completed.

Similarly, once the procedure is done, your treatment is still not complete. You should think about tooth replacement options such as a dental bridge or maybe even an implant.

Why home remedies are ineffective

Unfortunately most home remedies are ineffective at relieving necrotic nerve pain. If they do happen to work, it'll only temporarily alleviate the pain for a few hours but then the pain will return shortly afterwards.

Essentially, the vast majority of home remedies simply do little to alleviate your pain other than delay you from seeing the dentist.

Reasons why home remedies are ineffective:

  • Cannot reach the tooth nerve. The pulp is protected by layers of dentin and enamel. Most remedies cannot penetrate through these layers to reach the pulp.

  • Are not an analgesic. Most remedies do not have a nerve numbing property to them because they're not an anesthetic!

  • Temporary relief. Even the best home remedy which is actually a OTC painkiller (ibuprofen or acetaminophen) will only temporarily alleviate the pain. The effects do wear off and require you to take more medication.

  • Unsafe to use. Some remedies are best left forgotten such as using brake fluid or even gasoline for a toothache. Sounds dangerous to you? Yea, it is.

Most toothache home remedies check off at least one of these failed reasons. The really ineffective ones check off all of the boxes...

List of purported home remedies for tooth pain:

  • Baking soda

  • Bleach

  • Brake fluid or gasoline

  • Cold compress

  • Essential oils - clove, oregano, tea tree, thyme

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Listerine

  • Natural foods - apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coconut oil, garlic, guava leaves, honey, vanilla extract, wheatgrass

  • Painkillers - acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, anbesol, orajel

  • Salt water rinse

  • Tea bags - green tea, peppermint tea

  • Toothache plant

  • Willow bark

Our recommendation is to skip these and see an emergency dentist for guaranteed relief.


Gangrenous pulp pain stems from an unhealthy nerve that is dying and relief for it requires a root canal or tooth extraction. Anything else that you try to do for it at home will only delay you from getting the pain relief that you're seeking.

In other words, you gotta see a dentist. There is no way around treating a necrotic tooth nerve at home by yourself. Professional help is required for this painful condition. Our long island city dentists provide emergency dental treatment.



David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

Association Memberships:

Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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