Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How to Remove Ingrown Toenail with Dental Floss

Can you relate to the anguish and pain that you experience as a result of having an ingrown toenail? We’ve got you covered, so don’t worry about them! Utilizing dental floss to remove an ingrown toenail is a process that will be outlined in this detailed instruction that will lead you through each step. In addition to providing comfort, this straightforward method is also capable of preventing more issues from occurring. Let’s get down to business and figure out how to solve this annoying issue, shall we?

When you have a nail that is somewhat ingrown, your health care practitioner may delicately raise the edge of the nail that is growing inward and then insert cotton, dental floss, or a splint underneath it. In most cases, this takes between two and twelve weeks, but it helps the nail grow over the border of the epidermis by separating it from the skin that is underlying it.

How to Remove Ingrown Toenail with Dental Floss

When the ingrown toenail is located in the corner of the foot, the dental floss is introduced in an oblique manner and then pressed proximally. It is common practice to carry out the surgery without the use of a local anesthetic. There have been reports that patients notice an instant reduction in discomfort, which is then followed by the nail growing out of the spicule without causing any damage to the nail fold.

Pain, swelling, and the possibility of infection are among symptoms that can be caused by an ingrown toenail, which happens when the edge of the nail grows into the skin that surrounds it. The discomfort caused by an ingrown nail can be alleviated by using dental floss to gently pull the nail to the surface. Here is a detailed instruction that will walk you through the process of using dental floss to remove an ingrown toenail:

Step 1: Gather the necessary supplies

Before you begin the process, ensure you have the following items ready:

  1. Dental floss: Opt for unwaxed or lightly waxed dental floss, as it is thinner and easier to maneuver.
  2. Tweezers: Choose a pair of clean and sterilized tweezers to handle the floss and the ingrown nail.
  3. Warm water: Fill a basin or a tub with warm water to soak your foot, which will help soften the nail and reduce inflammation.
  4. Antiseptic solution: Prepare a mild antiseptic solution to cleanse the affected area and minimize the risk of infection.
  5. Cotton ball: Keep a sterile cotton ball nearby for any bleeding that may occur during the process.

In the second step, soak your foot.

Let your foot soak in warm water for roughly fifteen to twenty minutes to begin. The nail will become more malleable and simpler to work with as a result of this intervention. Furthermore, the warm water will alleviate the discomfort and minimize the swelling that you are experiencing simultaneously. If you want to be sure that the water is clean, you may enhance its cleanliness by adding a few drops of a gentle antiseptic solution.

Cleanse the area as the third step.

To dry your foot after soaking it, use a clean towel and wipe it dry carefully. After that, use a cotton ball to apply the antiseptic solution, and then sanitize the region around the ingrown toenail in a gentle manner. It is essential to do this step in order to avoid any infection that may occur throughout the removal procedure.

The fourth step is to get the dental floss ready.

The ingrown portion of the nail should be carefully threaded beneath a piece of dental floss that is roughly 18 to 24 inches in length. It is important to make sure that the floss is positioned horizontally beneath the edge of the nail, so making a loop that goes around the corner of the nail.

The fifth step is to remove the ingrown nail.

The dental floss loop should be cautiously lifted upwards using the tweezers, and the ingrown nail should be led away from the skin in a gentle manner. It is important to take your time and exercise caution in order to prevent creating any discomfort or agony. It is expected that the nail will gradually begin to rise and unattach itself from the flesh that surrounds it.

Step 6: Carry out the procedure once again

The dental floss should be removed, repositioned so that it is somewhat closer to the base of the nail, and then the lifting process should be repeated if the ingrown nail is not completely lifted after the initial try. Until the nail is entirely free from the epidermis and the agony has subsided, continue with this treatment.

Keeping the region clean and keeping an eye out for any symptoms of infection is the seventh step.

Wash your foot with clean water and wipe it dry once the nail has been safely removed from your foot. In order to protect the region from dirt and bacteria, apply a gentle antiseptic ointment and then cover it with a sterile bandage. In the event that there are any indications of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or discharge, the location should be monitored. Immediately seek the advice of a qualified medical expert if you have any symptoms that are cause for worry.

What is an Ingrown Toenail?

Before we delve into the methods of removing an ingrown toenail, let’s first understand what it is. An ingrown toenail, also known as onychocryptosis, is a condition where the edge of the toenail curves and grows into the surrounding skin. This can lead to pain, redness, swelling, and even infection if left untreated. The most common location for an ingrown toenail is the big toe, although it can occur on any toe.

Symptoms of an Ingrown Toenail

Identifying the symptoms of an ingrown toenail is important to initiate timely treatment. Here are some signs that you may have an ingrown toenail:

  1. Pain and tenderness along the edge of the toenail
  2. Swelling and redness around the toenail
  3. Development of a small bump or fluid-filled blister
  4. Difficulty in walking or wearing shoes due to discomfort
  5. Formation of pus or drainage in severe cases

Causes of Ingrown Toenails

Understanding the underlying causes of ingrown toenails can help in preventing their recurrence. Some common factors that contribute to the development of ingrown toenails include:

  1. Improper nail trimming: Cutting the nails too short or rounding the edges can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.
  2. Tight footwear: Wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes can exert pressure on the toes, leading to the nail growing abnormally.
  3. Trauma or injury: Stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on it can cause the nail to grow irregularly.
  4. Genetic predisposition: Some individuals are more prone to developing ingrown toenails due to their inherited nail shape.
  5. Fungal infections: Fungal infections can alter the nail structure, making it more likely to become ingrown.

How to Get Rid of An Ingrown Toenail Overnight

Now that we have a better understanding of ingrown toenails, let’s explore the easiest ways to remove them and alleviate the associated discomfort. It is important to note that severe or infected ingrown toenails should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. However, mild to moderate cases can often be managed at home with the following methods:

1. Soak your Feet

Start by soaking your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Adding Epsom salt or a mild antiseptic solution to the water can help reduce inflammation and prevent infection. This soaking routine should be repeated 2-3 times a day to soften the skin and make it easier to work with.

2. Lift the Nail

After soaking, gently lift the ingrown edge of the toenail using a clean cotton ball or dental floss. Be cautious not to force it or cause further injury. This technique helps dislodge the nail from the skin and promotes proper growth.

3. Apply Topical Antibiotics

To prevent infection, apply a topical antibiotic ointment or cream to the affected area after lifting the nail. This helps keep the area clean and minimizes the risk of bacterial growth.

4. Place a Protective Bandage

Once the topical antibiotic is applied, place a small piece of sterile gauze or cotton between the ingrown nail and the skin to cushion and protect it. Secure the bandage with a non-adhesive tape to keep it in place.

5. Wear Proper Footwear

While dealing with an ingrown toenail, it’s crucial to wear open-toed shoes or loose-fitting footwear that allows ample room for your toes. This reduces pressure on the affected area and promotes healing.

6. Use Toe Spacers

Toe spacers are small devices that fit between the toes, helping to separate them and prevent the toenail from digging into the skin. These spacers can be especially useful for individuals who frequently experience ingrown toenails.

7. Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

If you experience discomfort or pain, you can consider using over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare professional if the pain persists.

How to Remove an Ingrown Toenail Yourself

Understanding the Causes and Effective Treatment Options

To permanently get rid of an ingrown toenail, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes and explore effective treatment options. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Improper Nail Trimming: One of the primary causes of ingrown toenails is improper nail trimming. Cutting the nails too short or rounding the corners can cause them to grow into the skin. It is crucial to trim your nails straight across and avoid cutting them too short.
  2. Ill-Fitting Footwear: Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow can exert pressure on the toes, increasing the risk of ingrown toenails. Opt for shoes with a spacious toe box and proper arch support to prevent this issue.
  3. Injury or Trauma: Injuries to the toes, such as stubbing or dropping heavy objects on them, can lead to ingrown toenails. Take extra care to protect your toes from accidental trauma.
  4. Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing ingrown toenails. If you have a family history of this condition, you may need to take extra precautions to prevent it.

Effective Treatment Methods for Ingrown Toenails

Now that we understand the causes, let’s explore effective treatment methods for ingrown toenails. Here are some approaches you can try:

  1. Soaking in Warm Water: Start by soaking your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes, two to three times a day. This helps soften the skin and reduces inflammation around the ingrown toenail.
  2. Applying Antibiotic Ointment: After soaking, apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area to prevent infection. Look for products containing ingredients like bacitracin or neomycin.
  3. Placing a Cotton Ball: Gently lift the ingrown edge of the nail using a sanitized instrument and place a small piece of cotton ball or dental floss underneath. This encourages the nail to grow in the right direction and relieves pressure on the surrounding skin.
  4. Wearing Open-Toed Shoes: While treating an ingrown toenail, it’s advisable to wear open-toed shoes or sandals to alleviate pressure on the affected area. This allows the toe to breathe and promotes healing.
  5. Taking Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: If you’re experiencing discomfort, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, consult a healthcare professional before taking any medication.

How to Use Dental Floss for Ingrown Toenail

Tools and Techniques to Safely Lift the Nail

Lifting the ingrown toenail can provide immediate relief and help correct its growth. Here are some tools and techniques you can use for this purpose:

  1. Ingrown Toenail File: An ingrown toenail file is a specially designed tool with a curved end that allows you to lift the ingrown nail gently. Insert the file under the nail edge and carefully lift it away from the skin.
  2. Dental Floss: Dental floss can be used as a makeshift lifter for ingrown toenails. Carefully insert the floss between the nail and the skin, then lift the nail away from the skin.
  3. Toe Brace: Toe braces are adhesive strips that can be applied to the surface of the nail to lift and straighten it. These braces help redirect the nail’s growth and reduce pressure on the surrounding skin.
  4. Professional Podiatry Treatment: If home remedies and tools don’t provide relief, it’s advisable to seek professional help from a podiatrist. They have the expertise and tools to effectively lift and treat ingrown toenails.

Is Vaseline Good for Ingrown Toenails?

Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is a commonly used topical ointment. While it can provide some benefits for ingrown toenails, there are a few factors to consider:

  1. Moisturization and Protection: Applying Vaseline to the affected area can help moisturize the skin and create a barrier that protects against further irritation.
  2. Preventing Infection: Vaseline can act as a protective layer and prevent bacteria from entering the ingrown toenail area, reducing the risk of infection.
  3. Potential Drawbacks: Although Vaseline can be beneficial, it may not be a standalone solution for severe cases of ingrown toenails. If the condition worsens or doesn’t improve with Vaseline application, consult a healthcare professional.

FAQs about Removing Ingrown Toenails with Dental Floss

Q1: Can I use any type of dental floss for this procedure?

Yes, you can use either unwaxed or lightly waxed dental floss for removing ingrown toenails. However, unwaxed floss is generally recommended as it is thinner and more flexible, making it easier to navigate beneath the nail edge.

Q2: What should I do if the ingrown toenail doesn’t improve after using dental floss?

If your ingrown toenail doesn’t improve or if you experience worsening symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention. A podiatrist or healthcare professional can evaluate the condition and recommend further treatment options, such as a partial nail avulsion or antibiotics if an infection is present.

Q3: Are there any preventive measures I can take to avoid ingrown toenails?

Absolutely! To prevent ingrown toenails, follow these tips:

  • Trim your nails straight across, avoiding rounded edges.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with adequate toe room.
  • Avoid cutting nails too short.
  • Practice good foot hygiene and keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Be cautious when grooming your nails and avoid aggressive cutting or picking.

Q4: Can I remove an ingrown toenail at home without professional help?

While mild cases of ingrown toenails can often be managed at home, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional, especially if the condition persists, worsens, or if there are signs of infection. They can provide proper guidance and determine the most suitable course of treatment.

Q5: Is removing an ingrown toenail with dental floss painful?

When performed correctly, removing an ingrown toenail with dental floss should not be painful. However, if you experience discomfort or pain during the process, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional for assistance.

Q6: Can I wear closed-toe shoes after removing an ingrown toenail?

It is generally advisable to wear open-toe shoes or sandals for a few days following the removal of an ingrown toenail. This allows the area to heal and prevents additional pressure or irritation on the affected toe. Once the toe has healed sufficiently, you can transition back to closed-toe shoes.


Dealing with an ingrown toenail can be both uncomfortable and frustrating. However, by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can safely and effectively remove an ingrown toenail using dental floss. Remember to exercise caution, maintain proper hygiene, and seek professional help if needed. Take care of your feet, and enjoy the freedom from ingrown toenail pain!

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