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Instant Toothache Relief With An Advil Liqui-Gel Capsule Reconsidered

Written By Dr. Kyle Griffith

I'm always interested in the various home remedies that can be found on the Internet for a range of dental maladies. The most recent one recommends managing a toothache with an Advil Liqui-Gel capsule. The general instructions are as follows:

  • Pierce or cut a small hole in the Advil Liqui-Gel capsule.
  • Place a few drops of the liquid found within the capsule into the tooth to reduce pain or discomfort.

Advil is a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID). There are a variety of NSAIDs used in medicine that are applied topically; so, theoretically, this strategy could work for a toothache.

Here is the concern from a dental standpoint: The instructions state that the medication should be placed into the tooth. In order for the medication to work, it has to come into contact with the pulp of the tooth which houses the nerve and blood supply. For the pulp to be exposed, either a huge cavity (decay), fracture, or both must be present in the tooth.

My point in writing this blog is not to refute the theory that Advil might locally alleviate a toothache, but to impress upon a person who is experiencing this level of pain that their dental needs are urgent. A dentist should be seen as soon as possible.

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Remember, a "hole" has to be present to squeeze the Advil into. A tooth in this state is severely infected, fractured, or both. A severe infection or fracture of a tooth which exposes the pulp will lead to an infection that spreads into the jawbone. The infection will eventually penetrate the bone and start to spread throughout the gums and soft tissue. Dental infections that spread can lead to a localized abscess in the face or become so severe that the patient lands in the hospital with a life threatening condition.

Here's my suggestion on the Advil Liqui-Gel Capsule strategy: Maybe, if you wake up at 3 a.m. some random morning with a horrible toothache and you want to try it, go for it, but contact your dentist immediately to arrange an emergency visit. If you have a hole in a tooth that you can squirt medication into, it would be best to get the underlying problem addressed before the situation turns from bad to worse.

If you have any pain or discomfort associated with your mouth, please contact my team at 58 Dental so we can help you achieve relief.

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Kyle Griffith DMD

7090 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO. 80224