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Posted on September 25, 2018
It’s official: the first day of Fall was this weekend! I love all the flavors of fall. Pumpkin spice, ginger, apple cinnamon, and of course clove. Obviously, clove makes us all think of one thing: eugenol! Right? Just me? Eugenol is a common ingredient in dental materials. Its base is clove oil and it has a very distinctive smell as well as amazing applications for keeping you as comfortable as possible during many types of dental treatments.
There are many situations which call for the use of eugenol in dentistry. Most commonly, if a cavity is very deep or the nerve of the tooth is inflamed creating symptoms such as aching or sensitivity to temperatures, a medicated temporary filling may be used to try and decrease the inflammation inside the tooth and relieve painful symptoms. A medicated filling usually includes eugenol (clove oil) and zinc oxide as the main two ingredients. Eugenol relieves pain and zinc oxide helps disinfect the area and prevent the cavity from progressing further. Your dentist may leave a medicated filling in place for several weeks before replacing it with a permanent filling.
While you wear a temporary filling, it is important to chew carefully on that side. Avoid using your temporary filling to chew on very hard foods such as nuts or very sticky foods such as chewing gum or toffee. However, you should brush and floss as normal and do not avoid it during your home care regimen. Once the proscribed amount of time has passed, your dentist will test the tooth for symptoms and then (if possible) replace the medicated filling with a permanent filling. In some cases, a root canal therapy (https://www.lakebaldwindental.com/blog/2017-01-18-dreaded-root-canal) or extraction may be recommended depending on the case.
Another common dental application for eugenol is the treatment of pain from dry socket after an extraction. As much as we hope to avoid it, dry socket is pretty common, especially after a wisdom tooth extraction (https://www.lakebaldwindental.com/blog/2016-04-19-do-i-really-have-get-m…). The technical term for dry socket is alveolar osteitis, and it happens when the clot is lost from the socket during the healing process. To treat discomfort and encourage healing, a piece of linen soaked with eugenol and other agents is packed into the site. The eugenol helps to soothe away the pain while the other additives help speed the healing process and control microbes in the area.
Clove oil is a wonderful ingredient for pain control with many applications in dentistry. So as we keep our fingers crossed for actual fall weather to hit at some point, we can appreciate and enjoy this wonderful fall flavor year round. Keeping you pain free is just another way we hope to keep you smiling, Orlando!
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