Pros: Works quickly on the most severe pain, no ill effects
Cons: Not for prolonged use
Orajel Severe Toothache Pain Relief
I’ve always had a high threshold for pain. I usually stay away from pain killers altogether, believing that pain is there for a reason and that by masking it you’re just likely to cause more damage. When a filling broke on one of my rear teeth, having no insurance, I figured I could live with it for a while. I tried living with it a little too long and started getting severe pain around that tooth. I tried pain killers, they didn’t work, not even the 500 mg stuff, so it was time to listen to my more health judicious wife. Well I half listened at least. So far I’ve procrastinated on the expense of going to the dentist, but I have started using the Orajel she got me.
Orajel is available in a variety of formulas, but personally I’ve always believed in that Jerry Seinfeld philosophy: if there’s a maximum strength, why bother with anything else? Plus my wife knows that when I start complaining about pain, it must be something fairly severe. When a doctor asks you to rate a pain on a scale of 1-10, I’d honestly say that if I accidently bit on something hard it would probably be a 15. So there was no other option than the “Severe Pain Relief” for me.
According to the Orajel website:
“Orajel Severe Pain Formula is a unique, maximum strength toothache remedy. It works immediately to deliver pain medication and lasts for hours, cooling and soothing the painful area.”
The Label Information
Uses: Temporarily relieves pain due to toothache
Active Ingredients: Benzocaine 20%
Inactive Ingredients: cellulose gum, gelatin, menthol, methyl salicylate, pectin, plasticized hydrocarbon gel, polyethylene glycol, sodium saccharin
Allergy Alerts: Do not use product if you have a history of allergy to local anesthetics such as procaine, butacaine, benzocaine or other “caine” anesthetics.
Do Not Use: More than directed; For more than 7 days unless told to do so by a dentist or doctor
Stop use and ask doctor if: Swelling, rash or fever develops; Irritation, pain, or redness persists or worsens
Other Information: This preparation is intended for use in cases of toothache, only as a temporary expedient until a dentist can be consulted. Do not use continuously. Orajel Severe Pain Formula will stay in place for extended duration of relief.
Directions: Apply a small amount of product to the cavity and around gum surrounding the teeth. Use up to 4 times daily or as directed by a dentist or doctor. Children under 12 should be supervised, Children under 2 should ask a dentist or doctor.
A Note About the Label
I had to do a little background on Benzocaine and learned that it’s a common over the counter anesthetic. According to Wikipedia, allergic reactions can occur and benzocaine is a well-known cause of methemoglobinemia. 20% content is considered relatively high, so clearly warnings against prolonged usage should not be ignored. The idea that benzocaine is simply an industry name for cocaine was popularized in A Scanner Darkly, but as far as I’m aware this is a myth. I certainly didn’t get any feelings of overexcitement or giddiness.
I’ve had the Orajel Severe Pain Formula for a little over a week now and have only used it on two occasions. Often mouthwash, brushing my teeth or massaging the gums can help alleviate the pain a little and I’ve only used the gel as an unbearable last resort. Of course there have been a couple of times when I didn’t have it with me and wish that I did.
The gel is easy to apply and only requires the tiniest amount. Frankly I’ve squeezed out too much each time I’ve used it and ended up spitting a fair amount of it out again. You apply it to the cavity and to the gums around the tooth. There’s a slight cooling relief instantly upon application but it’s not sufficient. It takes a good 10 to 15 minutes for the formula to take effect and start to fully relieve the pain. After that however the pain is non-existent.
The after effects are nothing like I imagined. You don’t get that swollen or numb mouth effect like at the dentist that has you spilling a glass of water down the side of your face. It’s locally applied to one specific area so there’s no noticeable numbness at all. I was really surprised by how indiscriminately it works. The gel does become a little pasty as it sets and does leave a little bit of a foul taste in the mouth but really nothing worse than a bad toothpaste. As I mentioned I’ve been putting on a little more than I wanted to and ended up swallowing some and spitting some out. Once it’s applied and taken effect however (10 – 15 minutes) you can go back to eating and drinking with no discomfort.
The Orajel Severe Pain Formula works great. It’s easy to apply, takes effect almost immediately and has no significant after effect or discomfort. At $8.99 it’s pretty well priced, and the small 0.33oz (9.4g) tube goes a long way. You can pick it up at pretty much any major pharmacist or grocery store.
Of course it’s meant to be for temporary toothache and cavity relief, not the broken tooth I’m using it for, but I promise I’ll get to the dentist (or Tijuana) soon.