How To Use Orajel: Written & Video Instructions

Written, Edited, and Reviewed by Dr David Chen.

You have a raging toothache so you run to the pharmacy and pick up a tube of Orajel 4x in hopes of alleviating the unbearable tooth pain. However, right before you use it, you decide to read the instructions on how to use orajel so that you do it properly.

orajel 4x - unopened box

Unfortunately, you realize that the directions on the box are incredibly vague and not very helpful. It literally says, “Apply to affected area up to 4 times daily or as directed by a dentist or doctor.”

orajel 4x - directions

Like, a little more specific please?

Well luckily for you, THIS DENTIST will tell you exactly how we would use orajel in the most effective way to relieve pain. Written and video instructions to follow~

Written instructions

We’re going to tell you the best way to use orajel so that you can maximize its pain alleviation. If you use it the wrong way, it’ll just be less effective which isn’t what you want.

How to use orajel:

  1. Wash your hands. Use soap and water so that you prevent introducing more bacteria.
  2. Place orajel onto cotton tip. Don’t use your fat fingers to apply the ointment. Use a clean cotton tip applicator. It provides better maneuverability inside the mouth.
  3. Dry the tooth and gums. Use a paper towel and wipe away all of the saliva around the affected area. This includes the aching tooth along with the gums.
  4. Apply orajel to tooth and gums. Using the q-tip, rub it on all surfaces of the tooth and the surrounding gums.
  5. Tilt your head to the opposite side. After you finishing applying the gel or cream, lean your head to the opposite side.
    • If the affected side is on the left, tilt your head to the right.
    • If the affected side is on the right, tilt your head to the left.
  6. Wait 2-3 minutes with head tilted. Keep your head in that position for 2-3 minutes to let the medication work. If saliva begins to pool, swallow it immediately to prevent it from touching the orajel.
  7. One quick rinse. Once you’re done, rinse out quickly just one time and then no eating or drinking for an hour.
  8. Repeat up to 3 more times per day. The instructions says to use it up to 4 times daily.

Video instructions

We’re specifically using Orajel 4x because it is their most potent product. Why would you use their weaker product? We haven’t got a clue either.

And that is how you use this product.

How to apply orajel effectively

We’re going to share with you a couple of important tips on how to apply Orajel which helps to increase it’s effectiveness.

  • Dry the area. Use a paper towel and wipe away saliva from the affected tooth and gums. Saliva is the enemy of orajel because it dilutes it and washes it away, thus making it less effective.
  • Apply orajel to every surface of the tooth and gums. Since you’re not a dentist, you don’t know if its the tooth or the gums that are hurting you. Therefore simply apply it to every surface of the affected tooth along with the gums. This takes the guesswork out of it.
  • Tilt your head. After you’ve applied it, lean your head to the opposite side. This helps the saliva to pool away from the affected area.

Despite all of our tips, we do want you to be aware that this toothache home remedy is a temporary form of pain relief. This product was never meant to permanently get rid of your pain nor was it meant to last hours on end.

As reference, the amount of orajel you should use should be less than the amount of toothpaste you use to brush your teeth. After all, you’re applying it to a single tooth and not the entire mouth.

More isn’t necessarily better. All you want is just a coating around the affected area. Any excess will just fall off or wash away which means you’re wasting material.

After you finish treatment, you should wait an hour before you eat or drink any soft drinks. That is what the directions on the box specifically says.

If you’re not getting any pain relief from using Orajel as we instructed, it simply means your toothache is too severe for it. You must see a dentist if this doesn’t work.

Orajel label

Please be aware that the “uses” for this product explicitly says that it is meant for the temporary relief of pain due to minor irritation or injury of the mouth and gums. It’s not meant for full blown raging tooth pain that is so excruciatingly painful that it keeps you up in the middle of the night!

When to see dentist

If you’re having a toothache, you should schedule a dentist appointment even as you’re using the orajel. This OTC pain relieving product will temporarily numb the pain but it does nothing to permanently treat the source of your tooth pain.

Only your dentist is able provide proper treatment to fix whatever is ailing you and get rid of it for good. It’s not a solution to perpetually keep using a OTC pain reliever.

In fact, the directions specifically says to see a dentist if the pain lasts for more than 1-2 days.

orajel - when to see a dentist instructions

That is specifically from Orajel but we concur. So what are you waiting for? After you apply that gel/cream, start looking for a dentist pronto.


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Our purpose at afterva, is to encourage you to seek in person care with a doctor. It's not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. Each situation is unique and that makes it impossible to diagnose and treat without a clinical exam.

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