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Home remedies

It is good to know there are things you can do or try yourself to remedy any problems in the mouth. Please be aware that this is not a full substitute for professional help and especially when you have a big swelling or an accident which involves your mouth or teeth, please visit an emergency doctor or dentist as soon as possible. See emergency numbers at bottom of this page.

Accidents - tooth out or broken

A tooth that is dislodged or out of the socket can be replaced but this must be done really soon. Here is a link to the steps involved How to handle dental emergencies

Extreme swelling of the face

In rare cases dental inflammation can run out of hand. When it is not too bad yet, ALWAYS try to remedy it with nature's antibiotic: vitamin C in really high doses: preferably 2000 mg three times daily during meals or in a smoothie.
For mouth injuries, swelling and toothaches, it may help to place a cool, wet washcloth or ice pack to the side of the face.
As soon as a swelling starts getting so big that your face is swelling up dangerously, you are better to find an emergency room at a hospital soon. The best you can ask for is an immediate Intravenous vitamin C or intravenous antibiotic. A good indicator that you should get professional care quickly is a rise in temperature and / or problems with swallowing or breathing.


Unless a toothache is going rogue with an extreme swelling of the face (see above how to handle that), it is almost never a life-threatening event. Almost all toothaches disappear in a number of days. The reason for this is that the nerve in the tooth dies and that remedies the pain. Sometimes it is a deep jaw pain from a tooth that has already died. Almost always this is relieved a lot by not touching it and having healthy smoothies and no chewing.

The pain can be really bad and that can create a lot of stress. Every toothache is an inflammation, so again it is highly advisable to take 2000 mg of vitamin C three times daily with meals or smoothie as natures antibiotic.
Painkillers will help relieve a toothache until you can visit the dentist. Take painkillers regularly – without exceeding the recommended daily dose. Also check that you can safely take the medication combined with other meds prior to taking it. It can help to alternate between medications eg, for adults take 1 or 2 tablets of 400ml ibuprofen (200mg each tablet) then 2 hours later take 1 or 2 tablets of Paracetamol (500mg paracetamol and 8 mg codeine each tablet). Then repeat. Alternating can help provide a better and longer lasting cover.

Ensure you take painkillers 30 mins before bed time, then they will be working before you lie down.

Hot or cold – Sometimes sipping on very cold water can help. An icepack may help. Wrap some frozen vegetables or ice in a tea towel and hold on your cheek for 10-20 minutes. Some people find sipping on warm water helps.

Night time is always worse – there are no distractions and the brain can fully focus on the pain. Having some distraction can help, keep the TV on, have music playing or read a book till you fall asleep. Sleep with your head raised – this helps prevent the throb.

It is always better to quit these painkillers as soon as possible because they are not good for your health. A healthier alternative that you could take or combine is Turmeric.

Broken or chipped teeth, filling loose or out

In all these cases: if there is no immediate pain with eating or cold fluids then there is less urgency. To remedy sharp areas, it can help to get some sugarfree chewing gum to put that in or on the sharp spot.
When this does not really work, there are pharmacies that sell temporary filling material that you can apply yourself on the tooth. You can also make it yourself:
1/8 tsp zinc oxide powder
1 drop eugenol clove oil (or wild oregano oil)
Mix until you have a thick putty
Your tooth must be DRY (use a tissue)
Tamp putty into cavity with a toothpick or dental tool. Tamp it down as hard as you can.
After tamping, floss down and pull through – don’t lift floss back up or it may catch and pop out the filling.
Put a piece of plastic wrap over the rest of the putty to keep it from drying out, so you can use it again.

Emergency Numbers

NZ Emergency number is 111
The Marlborough Urgent Care Centre phone number is (03) 520 6377 (the same as the former After Hours GP Service)
For treatment of a dental emergency at weekends and public holidays please phone 03 520 9999 and ask for the details of the on-call private dentist.

More professional advice

During his study sabbatical till 17-1-2022 Dr Fred Timmermans has made some time available to be consulted about intervention and treatment options in case of urgency. In the worst case scenario he can advise precisely who to consult, what to suggest for treatment and provide all your x-rays and details.
If you would like such a consult, please book an appointments here for 10 minutes (only for enrolled patients) 10 Min Video or Phone Consult Dr Fred (Only for a single concern for enrolled patients) and here for 25 minutes.
This service will not be available from 23 November till 1 December 2021.