I am a trained reflexologist. Several years ago, I used reflexology as my only pain relief during a root canal.
Pain Relief at Your Fingertips
Reflexology has long been established as a therapy that relaxes the body systems and relieves pain. In this article, I will show how to ease tooth pain with reflexology.
Foot reflexology is usually the preferred method of application by therapists; however, hand reflexology is very popular for self-work. For this article, I will concentrate on the fingertips only, or, to be more precise, the corners of each of the first knuckles (nearest the nail).
How to Use Finger Reflexology to Relieve Tooth Pain
Once you have located the particular "sore point" on the finger knuckle corresponding to the offending sore tooth (see below), carry out the following procedure:
- Press the "sore point" three times, quite firmly. This tells the reflex that you are about to work on it and sends the message to the brain.
- Mentally draw a line from the "sore point" through the finger to the exit point on the palm side of the finger.
- Hold the two points very lightly using your thumb and middle finger.
- Zone into the two points, and you will begin to experience two pulse points. Usually, one side is a much stronger pulse than the other. Often the two pulses seem to do a dance between each other, speeding up, slowing down, pulsing quite strongly, and then one or both fading off. You may also feel a kind of "buzzing" feeling on either point.
- While the pulsing is happening, you may also start to experience sensations around your tooth. You may get a tingly or cooling sensation similar to that from a dental anesthetic injection. This is all normal. In fact, the pain should just drain away.
- Please don't stop holding the two points.
- After a few seconds or more, you will again experience some pulsing, but this time it should feel synchronised; that is, the beats will be together. Again this can appear quite strongly, or it can be very weak. Keep contact the entire time the pulsing is happening.
- Once you cannot feel the pulsation anymore, you can release both points.
Normally you will stay pain-free for quite a while. Sometimes the pain clears altogether and does not come back. However, the pain may come back depending on the cause of the tooth problem. You can just repeat the process again to relieve the pain.
Of course, pain is usually an indicator that something is not right in the body, and it is advisable to seek the opinion of your dentist if you are getting recurring pain. The advice for pain relief is just that, for pain relief. This advice is no substitute for getting necessary dental work done.
Locating the Reflex Points Associated With the Teeth
A dental chart is divided into four quadrants, two upper and two lower, each with eight teeth.
Reflexology interprets this as left and right sides and upper and lower jaws. The reflexes for the whole mouth can be found on the two thumbs on either side of the first knuckle joint. It is possible to pick up the general area by choosing the hand on the same side of the body as the pain and gently massaging either the thumb area associated with the upper jaw (nearest the nail bed) or the thumb area associated with the lower jaw (on the palm side of the knuckle).
To be more precise, we can find the location on the hand associated with the individual tooth if we know which one it is, simply by counting from the index finger to the little finger, either above the knuckle (top jaw) or below the knuckle (bottom jaw). The tooth reflex tends to sit on the corners of each of the knuckles.
The photo below shows the finger locations associated with the first two teeth on the top and bottom jaw. The middle finger would have teeth 3 and 4, the ring finger teeth 5 and 6, and the little finger teeth 7 and 8 (the wisdom tooth).
Of course if you have had any teeth removed, or have had a root canal where the root has been severed from the tooth, there will be no response on those reflexes on the hand, as there is no longer a connection between the nerve and the tooth. Often the reflex from a removed wisdom tooth feels "indented," rather than "solid' as the other reflexes feel when the tooth associated with the reflex has been removed.
So here you have the method for working out which finger knuckle corner relates to which tooth in the mouth. Sometimes you are not sure which tooth is causing you pain. Often this is because of infection or perhaps an abscess under a tooth; these can spread the pain across a larger area. In this case, you will need to let your finger reflexes guide you. The offending tooth reflex will feel "sore" when that reflex is pressed, so the advice is to press each corner until you find the "sore point." That will be the one to concentrate on.
Anatomy of the Teeth
To better understand how to relieve pain, let me give you a simple look at the offending pain source, the teeth!
Each adult usually has 32 teeth, 16 upper and 16 lower. The last four, the wisdom teeth, come in between the ages of 17 and 21 and can cause varying amounts of pain before they finally get through. Sometimes, however, the wisdom teeth become impacted and don't emerge, or are taken out because there is no room for them.
Children have fewer teeth: 20 by the time they are three years old. These 20 begin to fall out at the age of five or six to make room for the adult teeth.
The surface of the crown of the tooth is made of enamel. This substance protects the inside of the tooth. Inside the enamel is the dentine, a sensitive substance that fills the most of the inside of the tooth. The dentine is not as hard as enamel, but it protects the inner part of the tooth, called the pulp. The pulp contains the tooth's blood supply and nerve endings. These nerve endings send messages to the brain when you eat something hot or cold, and these nerve endings are the source of the pain you feel if your teeth are decayed or injured.
Putting it to the Test
As a reflexologist, I have a vested interest in knowing that this method is a proven way of relieving pain. So several years ago, I decided to put this method to the test on myself after experiencing tooth pain and what I called a "soggy socket." It turned out I had an abscess underneath my tooth, and my dentist gave me antibiotic to clear the infection and booked me in for root canal treatment a fortnight later.
I used the method above during the fortnight before the treatment, and told my dentist that I also wished to use this method during the root canal treatment, without any other anesthesia. Fortunately for me, my dentist was a personal friend of mine and knew of my reputation as a reflexologist. She agreed to do the treatment without injections and let me use reflexology as my pain relief.
She devised a method of communication using open and shut eyes to communicate yes and no, so that she could question me to check if I was experiencing pain or wished her to stop. With this agreed, she allowed me a few minutes to activate the tooth reflex and begin the above method of pain relief. She then began the root canal treatment.
I've very pleased to report that I experienced no pain whatsoever and the first sitting for the treatment (it was done over two treatments) was a success. The dentist commented that it also had taken less time than usual as she had not had to wait for the effects of an injection before she could start.
The second treatment session went the same way. No pain at all.
A few years later I had to have a second root canal treatment and again followed the same method. I worked with a different dentist this time, who again was happy to use my methods based on the experience I had the first time.
A client of mine, who has a real fear of injections, also wanted to try this method for herself. I duly showed her the procedure and had her practice on the points in the period leading up to her appointments (she had a sore tooth by that time). She explained to her dentist what she wanted to do, and because he knew of her fear, he agreed to try it.
A Baby Teething
She told me later that he had asked her at one point to let go of the finger points as he wanted to test that it really was providing pain relief. It took a few minutes before she started to feel a throb in the tooth again. When she said this was happening, he allowed her to reconnect with the reflex, ending the pain again. He finished the treatment and she was delighted that she had avoided an injection. Her dentist was amazed at the results.
Another client had a couple of tooth abscesses on one side of his mouth. In fact his whole face on that side was severely swollen. After using the above method to relieve the pain, I then used reflexology to dispel the fluid buildup in his face and drain it off to the appropriate lymph node. The swelling in his face visibly decreased within ten minutes of my working on the reflexes.
Incidentally, the same reflexes are also on the toes. As with the fingers, the key locations are on the corners of the first knuckle joint. The method is exactly the same: this is particularly useful for young babies, as it is often easier to hold their toes between two fingers than to hold their little fingers. It is probably not a coincidence that around the time a baby starts to teethe, they also start to suck or chew on their finger knuckles and toe knuckles! Inbuilt reflexology? I like to think so.
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.
Ask Esbe on July 05, 2017:
Thank you sooo much! You saved me last night! Same situation bad tooth trying to clear up for a root canal. It worked! Fell asleep within 30 mins after trying.
Vivienne on November 28, 2016:
Thank you for your article!
My daughter is having 2 cavities filled and I'm wondering if this method would work, even just to assist in giving anesthesia?
Your input would be greatly appreciated!
Sofia Ianovskaia on August 31, 2016:
What a great article. It will be so helpful if you did a little video on that as well. Thank you!
Tracy on June 13, 2016:
I actually have an abcess and my whole face is swollen, plan on going to dentist. I tried this and can't believe it.. IT WORKS. Not sure if I am brave though to actually not take any injections to have teeth work done... mmmm maybe though
gayla1957 on November 27, 2015:
can i help my mom's body to revive her salivary glands after they were fried by two long rounds of radiation for thyroid cancer (which is still there, btw) about ten years back? also, having no saliva has hurt her teeth badly and they are now starting to break off. can reflexology help her teeth to recuperate, i.e., remineralize and develop more ....enamel?
in his readings, edgar cayce frequently mentioned gelatin to aid in absorption of nutrients. i frequently use gelatin to this end. for mom's teeth, i have been toying with the idea of making a very lightly gelled unflavored gelatin with a few drops of minerals, some organic grass-fed bone meal, some liquid vitamin D and vitamin K2. i would also add some xylitol to sweeten the mixture and xylitol can also remineralize teeth (perhaps it helps teeth to remineralize themselves by getting bacteria out of the way). i thought if this was very lightly gelled, mom could rub it all around in her mouth including under the tongue and on the insides of the cheek, and then just put a mouthful in her mouth and swish it, just let it soak into all of the surfaces areas of her mouth. what do you think? then accompanied by the reflexology sessions, maybe the two together could help her teeth recuperate the devastating condition they are in. i have been trying to get her to do something for years, realizing this was coming, but she only now has begun to see what is happening and is willing to try things.
it is crunch time for my mom. i am willing to try anything where the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn't work. what scared me this evening is a comment that reflexing weak bones or injuries can be contraindicated. is it possible to cause damage to her weakened teeth by reflexing them?
Marie Breward (author) from Bolton, United Kingdom on April 08, 2013:
You're very welcome, glad you enjoyed the article. This can method can be used on all the reflexes on the hands to relieve pain in the body :) I've used this method successfully for over 20 years and it never fails to work for me while at the same time amazing the person on the receiving end. I can't count the times someone has called me 'weird', 'white witch' 'the lady with the magic fingers' hehe
torrilynn on April 08, 2013:
thanks for this hub on pain relief the natural way
i find sometimes that painkillers don't work or aren't
as effective. Voted up