My Child Has a Toothache. What Do I Do?

As parents, we want to protect our child from any kind of pain including toothache. Unfortunately, a toothache is one of the most common types of pain a child will experience growing up. Toothache in children is normal and is caused by different things including tooth decay, plaque buildup, incoming teeth, cavities, and broken teeth. While a toothache may seem normal, it can be a tricky situation that can cause stress to a child and to the parents. 

Oftentimes, parents can help helplessly because unlike other types of pain, with toothache, parents may feel like they can’t do anything to help ease the pain, especially because they cannot pinpoint the exact location of the pain. It is difficult to see your kid experience discomfort and pain but worry no more because there are things you can do to help ease your child’s toothache. 

Dealing with a Toothache

The first thing to do when dealing with a toothache is to know where the pain is located. Ask your child where the pain is or the most painful area. If your child is much younger, search for swelling and redness on the gums and cheeks. If possible, you must be able to pinpoint the location so you can determine what action is necessary to address the issue.

When you find the source of the pain, you can identify the cause of the pain. Sometimes, a toothache doesn’t necessarily mean a toothache. Your child may just bite his/her tongue or cheek or have sore gums and mistook it for a toothache. If the tooth is broken or has cavities upon checking, you will know that your child will need some ways to alleviate dental pain relief. Here are some tips on how you can help your child deal with a toothache:

  • Help your child floss. Flossing can help remove any food particles that may be trapped in unreachable areas. Remember your child’s gum is sensitive so help them.
  • Use warm water with salt. Mix a teaspoon of table salt into one glass of warm water. Let your child rinse with the solution for 30 seconds and spit it out. This solution will help kill the bacteria around the painful area and can promote faster healing.
  • Cold compress. If the pain is unbearable, apply a cold compress on the outer cheek nearest to the painful area. This can be done by purchasing one at your local pharmacy or making one by wrapping ice with a towel and putting it directly on the cheek for 15 minutes.
  • Give your child over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Remember to use the appropriate dosage with regards to your child’s age and weight and administer it as directed.
  • Call your child’s dentist. If your child’s toothache is caused by cavities, you need to visit your pediatric dentist for a possibility of dental solution such as filling, root canal or tooth extraction. 

Children are more at risk of toothaches so if your child is complaining of a toothache, do not ignore it. Schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist as soon as you can. 

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Mt. Vernon


We are excited to announce the GRAND OPENING of our fifth Superkids office in Mt Vernon, VA. Accepting new patients starting January 16th, 2023!

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