I have met many patients who use Anbesol and Orajel for temporary relief from tooth pain. One common household remedy from years ago was examined by the “Really?” columnist in the New York Times in order to explore the claims and science behind alternative temporary remedies for a toothache.
Anbesol and Orajel contain benzocaine, an anesthetic that can trigger allergic reactions and other side effects. Clove oil, however is a natural remedy used by dentists before anesthetics were developed. The essential oil is derived from the clove plant (Eugenia aromaticum), native to India and Indonesia, and the active ingredient is eugenol – the same compound that gives the plant its aromatic properties. You might have heard your dentist tell you he or she was going to place a temporary filling called Z.O.E. (zinc oxide and eugenol). There’s no mistake when this temporary sedative filling is used, because you will smell the aromatic eugenol. Researchers presented a comparison of clove oil, benzocaine and a placebo in the Journal of Dentistry in 2006. Click here to read the complete article from the “Really?” section of the NYT. My advice for a toothache… see your dentist. Clove oil is not going to cure a bacterial infection, the likely cause of your pain.