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How To Permanently Kill a Tooth Nerve At Home

The only way to permanently kill a tooth nerve at home is if you pull the tooth out yourself because all other home remedies will only temporarily kill it.


tooth extraction socket
tooth extraction socket

Do not be fooled by other online sources which tell you otherwise. Also in case you were wondering, no you won't be able to get toothache relief in just 3 seconds with at home remedies.


Table of contents:


Extractions are permanent

Pulling your own tooth is the only way to permanently kill your tooth nerve at home because it removes the tooth and nerve from your jaw forever. Once it is gone, it will no longer be able to cause you any pain which is why a tooth extraction is a permanent solution.


At home extractions aren't recommended

Despite tooth removal being the only effective option, we do NOT recommend doing it yourself at home because it is unsafe. If you ignore our warnings and attempt it anyway because you're in excruciating pain, there will be consequences.


DIY extraction consequences:

  • Broken tooth down to the gum line with the tooth root still in the gums.

  • More pain than before you tried to remove the tooth.


Broken tooth

You will NOT be able to successfully remove your own tooth. What usually happens is the patient breaks the top half of their tooth off while leaving the bottom half still stuck in the gums.


Tooth broke with root left in gums
Tooth broke with root left in gums

Essentially what you end up with is a tooth that has now broken down to the gumline and you have no further option as to how to get the rest out.


But wait... what about all of those baby teeth you removed by tying a string and pulling quickly? Yes, that may have worked for baby teeth because the roots were already resorbed but for adult teeth, the full length of the roots remain intact.


The image below is of an x-ray showing how a baby tooth has very short roots. The roots have been resorbed so much that the tooth is barely embedded in the jaw bone.


x-ray of baby tooth with resorbed roots
x-ray of baby tooth with resorbed roots

You can contrast the root length of baby teeth with an adult tooth which is significantly longer and very deeply embedded into the bone. Below is an x-ray of a fully grown adult tooth.


Adult molars with long roots x-ray
Adult molars with long roots x-ray

In other words because adult teeth have long roots, it is NOT possible to remove them by tying a string around the tooth and pulling. The extensive roots help anchor the tooth to your jaw bone and prevents them from coming out easily!


Ultimately, if you force the extraction, the top half of the tooth (crown) will most likely fracture off. The roots will most likely stay embedded within your jaw bone which means you've made no progress in removing all of the nerve.


More pain

If you fail to complete the tooth removal and you end up with a half broken tooth still stuck in your jaw bone, you will have even MORE pain than before you started.


painful tooth broken down to gum line
painful tooth broken down to gum line

Prior to breaking your own tooth, you were having tooth nerve pain but now that you've broken your tooth, you're also going to be having broken tooth pain.


That means you're going to be having two different types of pain that will combine synergistically to cause you a raging toothache that you've never experienced before. That tooth pain is going to come back with a vengeance.


 

Home remedies are temporary

Unlike an extraction, all other home remedies for a toothache will work temporarily at best and that is if they even work. They tend to work better for reversible pulpitis rather than irreversible.


Why home remedies don't permanently kill the tooth nerve:

  • Cannot reach the tooth nerve.

  • Is not an analgesic.

  • Effects are only temporary.

  • May be too toxic to use orally.


Most purported toothache home remedies possess at least one of the failed criteria above or they may fail all of them. Below we've provided an extensive list of alleged remedies.


  • 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


Can't reach tooth nerve

The primary reason why home remedies fail in killing the tooth nerve is that they cannot reach the nerve in the first place.


At home remedies are typically limited to topically applying the remedy directly onto the tooth. Unfortunately, the tooth nerve has multiple layers which protect and insulate it from external stimuli as well as your toothache remedy.


Tooth Anatomy - Mouthhealthy
Credit: Mouthhealthy - ADA

As you can see in the tooth anatomy diagram above, the nerve or pulp is situated in the center of the tooth. From there it has a thick layer of dentin which covers over it and also the enamel which serves as the exterior layer.


Did you know that your enamel is the hardest substance in the human body? What we're trying to say is that NOTHING you put on your tooth will be able to penetrate through the enamel and dentin to affect the nerve.


Not an analgesic

The second reason why home remedies don't kill the tooth nerve is that they often do NOT possess analgesic properties. That's right, half of the time what you're putting on your tooth doesn't even numb the nerve because it doesn't even have pain relieving characteristics.


Do you want examples? We'll give you examples.

  • Salt water rinse. Salt may be an antiseptic but it is not a pain reliever. Have you tried putting salt on an open wound? It burns rather than numb the pain right?

  • Alcohol. Drinking alcohol (whisky, vodka, gin, tequila) will not relieve your toothache. Putting rubbing alcohol on the tooth will also not numb it. Have you disinfected a wound before with isopropyl alcohol? It burns rather than numbs it right?

  • Listerine. While this is a fantastic antiseptic mouthwash, it does not relieve pain because it simply burns while you rinse with it!


In summary, most of the home remedies except for actual pain medication do not have analgesic effects to relieve tooth pain.


Temporary relief

The third reason why these remedies don't permanently kill the tooth nerve is that they provide temporary relief at best. All of these purported home remedies may temporarily numb the tooth pain but its effect will wear off.


The reason is because they don't treat the source of the problem. All they do is try to mask the pain while leaving the source unaddressed.


As an example, if you're having a toothache because of a broken tooth, taking ibuprofen may lessen the pain but it does nothing to fix that broken tooth. Thus, once the medication wears off you will be in pain once again.


For permanent pain relief, you must treat the source of the problem.


Unsafe to use

The fourth and last reason why some home remedies are better left unused is because they can be extremely toxic and unsafe for oral use. They may actually cause more harm to your body than good.


Examples of unsafe remedies:

  • Bleach. Accidentally swallowing bleach can result in a sodium hypochlorite accident that'll land you in the hospital.

  • Brake fluid. This automotive fluid is extremely toxic with a lethal dose of 1 ml/kg. Historically there has been a slew of mass poisonings due to brake fluid.

  • Gasoline. Ingesting gasoline will put you in the emergency department of your nearest hospital.


Even if these can potentially kill your toothache, they can potentially also kill you in the process. Our opinion is to leave these stones untouched.


Best way to kill a tooth nerve

The best way to kill a tooth nerve permanently is to see a dentist for a root canal or tooth extraction. Those are literally the only two ways to permanently eliminate the nerve and prevent the toothache from returning.


The primary reason why they're so effective and the effects are everlasting is because they physically remove the nerve. This is a mechanical process which is in stark contrast to home remedies which try to influence the tooth nerve via topical means.


Root canal

A root canal is an endodontic dental procedure which physically removes the nerve from the tooth. It is conservative because it only treats the nerve while leaving the tooth intact in the jaw.


root canal steps diagram

After the pulp has been completely removed, all of the infection and source of the pain will be gone. Since there is no more nerve in your tooth, that makes it impossible for the tooth to hurt again. In other words, this procedure permanently eliminates the pain.


Tooth extraction

A tooth extraction is a surgical dental procedure that physically removes the entire tooth along with its nerve from the jaw bone. It is less conservative than a root canal because once the tooth has been extracted, you will have a missing tooth in your mouth.


forcep techniques for tooth extraction
Credit: Anuj Jain

Nonetheless, it achieves the same purpose as the endodontic procedure because it gets rid of the tooth nerve permanently. Once the tooth is gone you will never be able to experience pain from that tooth ever again.


Takeaway

Pulling out a tooth is the only way to permanently kill a tooth nerve at home because it gets rid of it forever. Any other type of home remedy which you can think of will only be able to temporarily get rid of the toothache at best.


However just because extracting the tooth will be effective, it doesn't mean you should do it at home because you won't be successful. You'll probably end up fracturing the tooth and be in even more pain than before you start.


Due to your inexperience and inability to extract a tooth, we recommend seeing a dentist for permanent tooth nerve pain relief. They are the only ones who can reliably relieve your toothache.


So what are you still waiting for? Go ahead and give your dentist a call. The longer you wait, the longer you'll just be in pain. If you're in NY, our emergency dentists in Long Island City can do your tooth extraction.

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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!

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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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