A piece of cotton wool soaked in strong carbolic acid will relieve the pain of dental caries, but is useless in other forms of toothache.
In early inquiries a great point was made of the prevention of putrefaction, and work was done in the way of finding how much of an agent must be added to a given solution, in order that the bacteria accidentally present might not develop. But for various reasons this was an inexact method, and to-day an antiseptic is judged by its effects on pure cultures of definite pathogenic microbes, and on their vegetative and spore forms. Their standardization has been effected in many instances, and a water solution of carbolic acid of a certain fixed 'strength is now taken as the standard with which other antiseptics are compared.
The more important of those in use to-day are carbolic acid, the perchloride and biniodide of mercury, iodoform, formalin, salicylic acid, &c. Carbolic acid is germicidal in strong solution, inhibitory in weaker ones.
All preparations or admixtures which are not included in part 1 of the schedule, and contain a poison within the meaning of the pharmacy acts, except preparations or admixtures, the exclusion of which from this schedule is indicated by the words therein relating to carbolic acid, chloroform and coca, and except such substances as come within the provisions of section 5 of the act.
Carbolic acid is an efficient parasiticide, and is largely used in destroying the fungus of ringworm and of the skin disease known as pityriasis versicolor.