4 Tips from a Family Dentist When Your Child Has a Toothache

Toothaches are relatively normal in children, but you might want to take a trip to your family dentist if the pain does not subside. The jaw and teeth go through a series of changes in childhood, making for an uncomfortable journey toward the emergence of adult teeth. Although a family dentist should evaluate persistent tooth pain, most toothaches can be soothed with home remedies.

What to do about a toothache

At the first sign of pain, try these steps first.

Pinpoint the location of the pain

Having a toothache can be a distressing experience for the child. Your child will undoubtedly be upset about their toothache. Try to help your child understand that the pain is only temporary, and explain to them that you want to find out where the pain is so you can help them. Get your child to point to the pain. Once you find out the site of the pain, prepare a cold compress for your child to hold to the side that is bothering them.

Try to find the cause

There are many causes of child tooth pain. The most obvious many parents might think of is dental decay. Cavities often lead to toothaches, as many adults know from experience. These small holes caused by tooth decay expose the inside of the tooth where the nerve lives. If your child notices the pain while eating or drinking hot foods and beverages, a cavity might be the culprit. Closely inspect the tooth that is bothering your child with a visual examination. Cavities look like small brown spots and are often found in the crevices of molars.

New teeth, sinus problems and fillings could also be bothering your child. Adult teeth emerge through the gums, pushing the old tooth out of the way. Losing teeth can be a painful experience, and when the new tooth erupts, there will be some level of sensitivity. Cracked teeth from accidents or biting down on hard objects can also cause pain. This is a more serious issue that will be more severe than the sensitivity felt from a cavity.

Pain relief

A cold compress should be the first remedy for a toothache. If there is any swelling, this will help to subdue it as well as relieve pain. Apply an ice pack to the outside of the jaw where the pain is radiating. Since the cheeks are sensitive to cold, try holding the ice pack on and off for a few minutes each time to avoid burning the cheek from cold. Over the counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (in small doses) can be administered if the pain does not go away within half an hour.

Have your child rinse with a warm salt water solution (one-half teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water). They should rinse their mouth with salt water for about five minutes. This will quell any swelling and pain.

If none of these home remedies work to relieve pain, take your child to your family dentist right away. Moderate to severe tooth pain (and the root cause of it) will only get worse the longer it goes untreated.

What not to do

Do not give a child aspirin, and never apply liquified painkiller directly to the teeth or gums. The acidity in this medication can cause more harm rather than help the pain. Aspirin is also known to cause a rare yet fatal disease known as Reye’s syndrome, so steer clear of this drug when considering pain management for a toothache.

Request an appointment here: https://www.northtampadentistry.com or call North Tampa Dentistry at (813) 430-0933 for an appointment in our Tampa office.

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