The author is an Honours graduate of Queen's University Belfast in Ireland.
Dry Socket Is a Very Painful Condition
After enduring an awful 2-week lasting toothache, followed by a traumatic tooth extraction of an offending large lower back tooth the next week, I thought I was due for a well-earned rest from dental pain. Nothing could be that simple, of course, because within a few days, the pain had returned with a vengeance. I had developed a dental condition known as dry socket, aka alveolar osteitis.
What Is Dry Socket?
Dry Socket is not an infection of the area where the extraction has taken place, but an inflammation of the bone exposed post-extraction. It is extremely painful and can literally drive one up the walls with the progressively worsening pain. From what I have read, it occurs when the blood clot that usually forms covering the hole left by an extraction, is dislodged or does not get time to form.
Apparently, this condition afflicts 5% of extractions, and those most likely to have it occur are those who smoke and women taking birth control pills. Extractions of the lower back teeth are more likely to develop into dry socket and too much brushing near the affected area or spitting can also be a direct cause.
Dry Socket Symptoms
Some of the telltale signs of dry socket (alveolar osteitis) include:
- Feeling severe, intractable pain within a few days of extraction.
- Partial or complete loss of a blood clot at the extraction site.
- Partly visible bone within the socket.
- Pain spreading from the socket to the eyes, ears, neck, or forehead.
- Foul taste, bad breath, or unpleasant odor coming from within the mouth
When the pain got to be well nigh unbearable again, I started off rinsing my mouth with OTC effervescent Co-Codamol, a combination preparation containing 8 mg Codeine and 500 mg Paracetamol' I also employed the anti-inflammatory Naproxen 250 mg which produced no relief whatsoever.
I then tried some opioid analgesics, but they only succeeded in dulling the pain ever so slightly. I then took a little time to read up on the condition, and many Google searches later, the name clove oil was beginning to look like a cheap and cheerful alternative to another trip to the dentist to have my painful dry socket dressed with an anesthetic packing. I had memories as a child of hearing adults recommending clove rock mint sweets as a cure for toothache but had written it off as an old wives tale with no factual basis.
Use Clove Oil Sparingly—It Tastes Foul!
At first, after getting a small bottle of the stuff from the local pharmacy, which cost approximately $3.00, I tried to pour a few drops of the stuff directly into the affected area. This was a major mistake! This is very concentrated stuff, words cannot adequately describe how foul this stuff tastes, and I have knocked down some pretty noxious concoctions in my day. It is like rinsing with a full mouthful of industrial-strength cleaning liquid. After reading a little more on the methodology involved with the Clove Oil cure, my second attempt was a lot less traumatic, thankfully.
How I Used Clove Oil for My Tooth Pain
Pour a few minute drops onto a piece of gauze, packed in into the offending area, and within a few moments, the pain will almost assuredly disappear completely. You will not believe how fast-acting and effective this stuff is, it reduced a dental pain that was easily a 7 on the 1-10 'Richter' scale of agony, into just a bad memory.
I honestly don't know how it works, though no doubt the medically inquisitive could easily find out. However, when one has just been released from dental purgatory, you'll tend not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I have heard that clove oil is as effective with other dental pain, as I have used it effectively with less painful dental conditions. What I do know with absolute certainty is that clove oil will reduce significantly the awful ache associated with the condition known as dry socket a lot more quickly, safely, and cheaply, than throwing the contents of a medicine cabinet at the pain.
Furthermore, nowadays, with the side-effects of potent analgesics being well documented, you can rest easy in the certainty that clove oil in no way affects the central nervous system, and I can state that without fear of contradiction that there is not a single case on record, anywhere, of clove oil dependency. With dental work being hyper-expensive and even prescriptions for painkillers in the USA proving financially prohibitive, clove oil may be an inexpensive stopgap measure for dental pain.
- Gülçin, İ., Elmastaş, M., & Aboul-Enein, H. Y. (2012). Antioxidant activity of clove oil–A powerful antioxidant source. Arabian Journal of chemistry , 5 (4), 489-499.Chicago
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Liam A Ryan
Liam A Ryan (author) from Ireland on July 23, 2019:
Thank you for your kind comment, Tori
Tori Leumas on July 23, 2019:
Great article. I had my wisdom teeth removed 6 months ago and I got an infection that caused a lot of pain after that. Clove oil really helped a lot.
Liz Westwood from UK on July 22, 2019:
This is a very interesting article. Only recently a friend was telling me of the benefit of cloves when used to treat toothache. I have also had mouthwash containing chlorhexidine recommended to me.