top of page

How To Use Anbesol: Photos & Video Instructions

You have a raging toothache so you run to the pharmacy and pick up a tube of Anbesol in hopes of alleviating the unbearable tooth pain. However, the directions on the box for how to use anbesol are incredibly vague and not as helpful as you'd like. It literally says, "Apply a pea-size amount to the affected area up to 4 times daily or as directed by a dentist/doctor."

Anbesol still in package

Like, could you be a little more specific please?

Anbesol instructions
Anbesol instructions

Well luckily for you, THIS DENTIST will tell you exactly how we would use orajel in the most effective way to relieve your aching tooth pain. Images and video instructions to follow. Although before we begin, you do need to open the tube and remove the tamper proof seal. After that, you can start using the product.

Table of contents:

How to open anbesol gel

Once you open the package with anbesol and unscrew the cap, you'll notice that the opening is closed off. There is a tamper proof seal that is protecting the product and preserving its freshness. This seal must be cut off (opened) before you can squeeze out any anbesol gel.

Anbesol - tamper proof seal
Tamper proof seal

If you look at the directions on the back label, it does say to cut the tube where the score mark is. It should come right off with a scissor. Once you do that, you can see an opening in the tube.

How to remove tube seal:

  1. Unscrew the cap from the anbesol tube.

  2. Cut the tube across the score mark.

  3. Visualize the opening and you're ready to use this product.

That is how you open the anbesol gel. It is fairly straightforward and should only take a few seconds to do.

Written Instructions

We're going to tell you the best way to use anbesol so that you can maximize its pain alleviation. If you use it the wrong way, it'll just be less effective which isn't what you want when you're in pain.

How to use anbesol:

  1. Wash your hands. Use soap and water so that you prevent introducing more bacteria.

  2. Place anbesol onto cotton tip. Don't use your fingers to apply the gel. Use a clean cotton tip applicator. It provides better maneuverability inside the mouth.

  3. Dry the tooth and gums. Use a paper towel and wipe away all of the saliva around the affected area. This includes the aching tooth along with the gums.

  4. Apply anbesol to tooth and gums. Using the q-tip, rub it on all surfaces of the tooth and the surrounding gums.

  5. Tilt your head to the opposite side. After you finishing applying the gel or cream, lean your head to the opposite side.

  • If the affected side is on the left, tilt your head to the right.

  • If the affected side is on the right, tilt your head to the left.

  1. Wait 2-3 minutes with head tilted. Keep your head in that position for 2-3 minutes to let the medication work. If saliva begins to pool, swallow it immediately to prevent it from touching the anbesol.

  2. One quick rinse. Once you're done, rinse out quickly just one time and then no eating or drinking for an hour.

  3. Repeat up to 3 more times per day. The instructions says to use it up to 4 times daily total.

Video instructions

We're using the anbesol toothache cream for this video tutorial.

And that is how you use this topical anesthetic gel.

How to use anbesol effectively

We're going to review with you a couple of important tips on how to increase the effectiveness of Anbesol when you use it.

  • Dry the area. Use a paper towel and wipe away saliva from the affected tooth and gums. Saliva is the enemy of anbesol because it dilutes it and washes it away, thus making it less effective.

  • Apply anbesol to every surface of the tooth and gums. Since you're not a dentist, you don't know if its the tooth or the gums that are hurting you. Thus, you should apply it to every surface of the affected tooth along with the gums.

  • Tilt your head. After you've applied it, tilt your head to the opposite side. This helps the saliva to pool away from the affected area. That prevents your spit from washing away the gel or diluting it.

Despite all of our tips, we do want you to be aware that this toothache home remedy is a temporary form of pain relief. This product was never meant to permanently get rid of your pain nor was it meant to last hours on end.

How much anbesol should I use?

As per the directions on the label, you should apply a pea-sized amount to the affected area. More isn't necessarily better. All you want is just a coating around the affected area. Any excess will just fall off or wash away which means you're wasting the gel.

When can I eat or drink?

What if its not working

When to see dentist

If you're having a toothache, you should schedule a dentist appointment even as you're using the anbesol. This OTC pain relieving gel will temporarily numb the pain but it does nothing to permanently treat the source of your tooth pain and get rid of it. You also shouldn't use this after an extraction since it's not as helpful as you may think.

Only your dentist is able provide proper treatment to fix whatever is ailing you and get rid of it permanently. It's not a solution to perpetually keep using a OTC pain reliever. So what are you waiting for? After you apply that gel/cream, start looking for a dentist pronto.

Our dentists in Long Island City do provide emergency dental treatment. Call 718-358-3307 or schedule an appointment online.



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!

bottom of page