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Will Orajel Help Dry Socket Pain?

Yes, Orajel can help with dry socket pain but it isn't the most effective pain reliever for this post-extraction complication because there is a better alternative. The preferred topical pain reliever used by dentists is called dry socket paste.


orajel 4x cream
orajel 4x cream

The good news is that there is a home remedy equivalent to the specially formulated paste.


Table of Contents:


Orajel can help with dry socket

Dry socket is a painful complication after tooth removal and orajel is a legitimate topical anesthetic so it can help alleviate the pain. Although it isn't the most effective means of treating your toothache because the analgesic effect is short lasting.


extraction socket
extraction socket

It's an analgesic

Orajel is a valid topical anesthetic because your dentist uses it too but they use the generic version of it. The key ingredient in both of the products which produce the numbing sensation is benzocaine.


orajel vs generic benzocaine
orajel vs generic benzocaine

The image above shows orajel 4x which contains 20% benzocaine and a generic version that we have at our dental office which also has 20% benzocaine. If it's good enough for your dentist to use, you can be sure that orajel does work as a pain reliever.


Short duration of effect

Despite its validity as a topical analgesic, what makes orajel not very effective at treating dry socket is it's short duration of effect. According to research studies and our own experiment, you can expect the numbing or pain relief to last about 10-20 minutes at most.


orajel instructions
orajel instructions

The instructions for the use of orajel specifically states that it can be applied up to 4x daily. Couple the frequency with its short lasting duration, it is clearly not enough to relieve pain from a dry socket.


This is also the reason as to why we don't really recommend using orajel after an extraction.


Dry socket paste

While your dentist may have the generic version of Orajel, they don't use it because dry socket paste is significantly more effective. This is a prescription topical analgesic that was specifically formulated to relieve the unbearable pain.


dry socket paste by sultan

Dry socket paste ingredients:

  • 4.16% Eugenol

  • 4.16% Guaiacol


This paste is the preferred and default pain relieving treatment used by dentists for patients with a dry socket. They don't even bother with benzocaine at all.


If you look closely at the ingredient list, there is no benzocaine within the formulation of this special paste. That tells you that it is not needed for whatever reason.


Why this paste is more effective

The pain relieving effect of this specially formulated paste seems to be longer lasting and longer acting.


Typically how most dentists use it is by packing the paste directly into the extraction socket and leaving it in there for about 2-3 days. The dry socket paste then gets changed out every 2-3 days.


dry socket paste inside socket
dry socket paste inside socket

Essentially, the past can be used as a long acting pain reliever since it's effective for up to 3 whole days with a single application. You can compare that to orajel which only lasts about 10-20 minutes at most and thus would require multiple applications.


Home remedy equivalent for dry socket paste

Unbeknownst to most but the two primary ingredients in dry socket paste is essentially clove oil. Yes, the same essential oil that you're thinking of. It has a very distinct smell.

  • Eugenol is the scientific name for the essential oil of cloves.

  • Guaiacol is the precursor of eugenol and vanillin (vanilla extract).


clove oil
clove oil

The point that we're trying to make is that you can create a home remedy that can potentially be equivalent to dry socket paste.


How to use clove oil for dry socket

There are two ways to use clove oil as a home remedy to alleviate dry socket pain.


Dropper method:

  1. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out really well.

  2. Apply 1-2 drops of clove oil directly into the affected tooth socket.

  3. You may repeat this up to 3x per day total.


Packing method:

  1. Brush your teeth and rinse out really well.

  2. Apply 1-2 drops of clove oil onto sterile gauze or a cotton pellet.

  3. Place cotton pellet directly into extraction socket.

  4. Remove and replace this packing every 2-3 days.


As a matter of practicality, we recommend only using the dropper method because it is easier. The packing method requires removal of the gauze or cotton pellet which you may not be able to do. Unless you've college pliers it may be difficult for you to get what you put into the socket back out.


For your information, if you see your dentist, they will use the packing method with dry socket paste. However, your dentist will also help you remove and replace the dressing when the time comes.


Verdict

We at afterva recommend seeing a dentist if you think you've a dry socket. Yes, we have provided information about self-care at home if you have this condition but DIY methods will always be inferior to professional care.


Summary:

  • Orajel can help alleviate the pain but it doesn't last long enough to be practical.

  • Clove oil is similar to dry socket paste but having your dentist do it for you is more effective.


Your dentist can place the dressing directly into your socket which provides you with relief for at least 2-3 days. If you put the clove oil directly into the socket, it won't last as long since saliva usually washes it out.

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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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