Does Clove Oil Deaden the Nerve Endings?

Clove oil is a traditional remedy for tooth pain. Eugenol, the active numbing ingredient in clove oil, numbs the nerves on contact, although researchers are not sure how it works. Clove oil is also a natural analgesic, and it also has anti-bacterial properties, according to Jamile B. Taheri, et al., authors of "Herbs in Dentistry." Consult your dentist before you use clove oil as a remedy for tooth pain, however. Clove oil is not a substitute for dental treatment.

Clove oil temporarily deadens tooth pain. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Dental Uses

Clove oil can be useful as a temporary measure to relieve dental pain. Some of the uses of clove oil include dulling the pain of a broken tooth or deadening the pain of an exposed nerve, according to Frankie Avalon Wolfe, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Herbal Remedies." In addition to these uses, some dentists recommend clove oil as a natural pain remedy after a root canal or wisdom tooth extraction. Clove oil does not present the same danger of addiction as narcotic pain relievers.

Other Uses

In addition to pain relief, the anti-bacterial properties of clove oil are useful for killing oral bacteria, according to a 2011 study by Sang-Eun Moon, et al., in "Archives of Oral Biology." A few drops of clove oil mixed with water is an effective mouthwash. In addition to dental uses, a 2011 study in "Research Journal of Medical Plant" indicates that when clove oil is applied topically, it can help treat acne.


Do not ingest clove oil, and keep it away from children and pets. Clove oil can cause nausea and vomiting if it is ingested. Clove oil can be used to dull teething pain in infants or toothaches in children, but only with adult supervision and a dentist's approval, according to Avalon Wolfe. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching clove oil because it can be very irritating to the nose and eyes, according to Raymond M. Lombardi, author of "Aspirin Alternatives."

When to Consult a Dentist

Clove oil may be fine to temporarily deaden tooth pain, but refrain from using it as a long-term solution for dental pain. Your pain may indicate that you have a serious dental problem that should be remedied. Consult a dentist immediately, because some dental problems may become more serious over time. For example, an abscess is a pocket of infection in the gums that can be fatal if it is left untreated.

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