Toothache: Getting to its Root
March 15, 2020 at 12:00 PM
by Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry

Tooth pain can be extremely stressful, for both the child and the parents. If your child is complaining of a toothache, and they have a fever and/or facial swelling, contact your pediatric dentist immediately and book an appointment ASAP! If those signs arent there, it's generally not an emergency, but still something to take seriously.

To diagnose the cause of the pain, ask your child some questions and figure out the following:

  • Where exactly the pain is coming from
  • How long has the child been feeling the pain
  • Whether there's recently been any injury to the teeth or mouth
  • If there's any obvious damage

Children can't always accurately recall the answers to these questions, so if you can't figure it out, and the toothache doesnt go away in 24 hours, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist so that they can do an evaluation. If the problem is dental, it will likely get worse if left untreated.

Most Common Cause

The most common reason for dental pain is tooth decay. Your pediatric dentist will carefully examine your child’s mouth for any obvious signs of decay, such as teeth with brown spots or tiny holes. They will also look at the gums and inner areas of the mouth to see if there's any swelling or sores. If there is swelling and it is not related to an injury, it could be an indication that there's an abscess due to a nerve infection caused by tooth decay.

Food Particles Causing Pain

A small piece of food caught between your child’s teeth could be the reason for their toothache. Help them floss well on both sides of all the teeth that are hurting. Doing so can free any food particles that are stuck in between the teeth, relieving any pain or pressure that they caused.

What to do until your child gets to the dentist

There are some measures you can take to help ease your child’s pain until they get to see their pediatric dentist.

  • Give them some ibuprofen or acetaminophen (given that they are not allergic). Alter the dose based on their age and weight
  • Floss between their teeth to remove any debris stuck there
  • Apply an ice pack to their jaw, especially if there is swelling. Keep placing it on and off for a few minutes at a time

Even if you are able to relieve your child’s pain, you still should make an appointment with your pediatric dentist to double check your diagnosis so you can make sure that the correct problem and solution are identified.