Cloves are a traditional remedy for numbing nerves; the primary chemical compound of this spice is eugenol, a natural anesthetic. But clove oil needs to be used carefully. Pouring the oil on the aching area can actually worsen the pain if you get it on sensitive gum tissue or on your tongue. Instead, put two drops of clove oil on a cotton ball and place it against the tooth itself until the pain recedes. In a pinch, use a bit of powdered clove or place a whole clove on the tooth. Chew the whole clove a little to release its oil and keep it in place up to half an hour or until the pain subsides.
Mix equal parts of these two heat-packing spices with enough water to make a paste. Roll a small ball of cotton into enough paste to saturate it, then place it on your tooth while avoiding your gums and tongue. Leave it until the pain fades—or as long as you can stand it (the concoction is likely to burn). You can also try these spices separately, as both are potent painkillers. The main chemical component of cayenne—capsaicin—has been found to help block pain messages from reaching the brain.
A teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of boiling water makes a pain-killing mouthwash (bonus: this can relieve a sore throat as well), which will clean away irritating debris and help reduce swelling. Swish it around for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. Salt water cleanses the area around the tooth and draws out some of the fluid that causes swelling. Repeat this treatment as often as needed
Peppermint tea has a nice flavor and some numbing power. Put 1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves in 1 cup boiling water and steep for 20 minutes. After the tea cools, swish it around in your mouth, then spit it out or swallow. (Love the smell of peppermint? The oil is a known headache remedy.) Also, the astringent tannins in strong black tea may help quell pain by reducing swelling. For this folk remedy place a warm, wet tea bag against the affected tooth for temporary relief.