What Should I Do If My Child Has a Toothache?

It can be frustrating from the perspective of both child and parent to deal with toothaches in children, especially when their source is a mystery. Toothaches can be the result of trauma, buildup in the teeth, or more serious problems like decay. If your child has a toothache that is persistent and does not go away, the best thing you can do is book a dental appointment as soon as possible at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry.

Possible Causes of Toothaches

There are many potential causes of tooth pain, some related to oral health and some simply a result of accidents. Some of the most common sources of toothaches are:

  • Adult teeth coming in
  • Chips or cracks in the teeth
  • Broken or loose tooth due to injury
  • Tooth decay
  • Stuck food particles
  • Fillings that are loose or have fallen out
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Accidental biting of gums or tongue

Identify the Location of the Pain

It can be difficult to watch your child be in pain but you may be able to help them if you can identify where the pain is coming from. If your child is at an age where they can verbally communicate or point to the affected tooth, you can closely examine it for signs of discoloration, swelling, bleeding, or a damaged tooth.

If your child is too young to tell you where the pain is coming from themselves, you can try to look into their mouths and look for obvious signs of irritation. For toothaches with seemingly no explanation, you should contact the dentist right away. 

This could be a sign of an underlying tooth problem, such as a cavity. Healthy teeth should not be causing pain. If you were able to locate the precise tooth or area of the mouth causing the pain, this is good, as you now have a basis to treat the pain.

Relieving Toothache Pain

Saline Rinses - Rinsing the mouth with a saline rinse will help to eliminate bacteria and reduce swelling, especially if the tooth pain is caused by an infection, decay, or a damaged tooth. Mix a teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of lukewarm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds. If necessary, repeat multiple times a day until you can seek dental treatment.

Flossing - For pain caused by food particles stuck in between the teeth, it is important to help your child floss to remove it. If your child consistently neglects proper brushing and flossing, this can result in a buildup of food particles in between the teeth. 

Significant food particle buildup can apply pressure in between the teeth and even push the teeth away from each other. This can irritate both the gum line and the roots of the teeth. Use traditional floss or a water flosser, being careful around the gums.

Ice - Applying cold compresses to the face and jaw area can help reduce pain and swelling. Keep the ice on the affected area for 15 minutes on and 20 minutes off. This is a temporary method to reduce swelling and pain but you should still see a dentist.

Pain Relief Medication - If the pain is significant and unrelenting, you can help your child feel more comfortable by giving them anti-pain medication which is safe for children. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are good options because they relieve pain and inflammation. Make sure you give your child the children’s dose. Pain medication can mask the problem but the problem will still be there, so it’s important to see a dentist.

Visiting the Dentist - If you have tried all of these at-home remedies and nothing has worked or you can not identify the source of the problem with the tooth, you should contact your dentist. Severe tooth pain is considered a dental emergency

Schedule a Dental Checkup at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry Today!

A dentist will be better equipped to take a closer look at the mouth and identify the source of the pain than you will. They may need to take x-rays, perform an oral exam, or perform certain dental treatments like fillings. The sooner you address the problem, the better. If your child is experiencing a toothache, contact us at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry or schedule an appointment with Dr. Julie Hantson.

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