I love AMC’s Mad Men. I was watching a rerun from last season in which Don has a tooth ache. Being the strong, silent 1960’s man that he was he, of course, didn’t go to the dentist as soon as it hurt. He suffered for a while first, assuring his wife that the pain would pass as it always did.
The opening scene is Don pouring a liquid onto a cotton ball. He puts the cotton ball in his mouth, and looks as if he’s in pain, but may be getting some relief from this cotton ball. I had to rewind to see what the heck he was putting on that cotton. My first thought was oil of clove, as that would actually impart some relief. But in looking more closely I see that he was pouring liquor, and I think it’s Canadian Club, on the cotton ball.
So I checked to see what the internet had to say about using alcohol topically on a tooth ache, and I am sad to see how much misinformation there is out there. I found multiple sites claiming that alcohol applied directly to the tooth numbs it. I assure you it does not.
If alcohol had numbing properties it would not burn when you apply it to a wound. Think about it – scrape your knee, and apply alcohol; Does it feel numb? No, it burns. Other misinformation out there was that crushing an aspirin and putting it on the tooth works. Baloney! Aspirin is made of salicylic acid, and will burn your cheeks and gum tissue if you leave it on there. If you do that you will have a tooth ache and burned gum tissue.
The way alcohol and aspirin both work is by ingesting them. If you want to get drunk you don’t go apply a cold compress of whiskey to your forehead, you drink it. If you have a headache you don’t stick an aspirin on your forehead you eat it. Both chemicals must get into the blood stream to work. And no reputable dentist would say to drink alcohol to get rid of dental pain. Aspirin however often helps pain, but only if you ingest it.
So if you have a tooth ache and are looking for a home remedy do take an aspirin or Ibuprofen, don’t read the non-sense on the internet, and give us a call. We can help you with that.