What Can I Do About My Child’s Toothache?

Help relieve a toothache

Toothache Questions and Answers

Aches and pains can come and go, but toothaches are one issue that we wish would go away as fast as possible. Unfortunately, toothaches consist of a pain that often doesn’t seem like it will go away. With no apparent relief in sight, children with tooth pain can be miserable and often inconsolable. As parents, we want to take the pain away, but what can we do about our child’s toothache?

What causes a child’s toothache?

Tooth pain can come on due to erosion or decay of the tooth’s pulp. The pulp’s chamber contains nerves and super tiny, very sensitive blood vessels. For children, in particular, toothaches can come on from drinking too much sugary soda or consuming high-sugar foods, like candy, which can cause cavities that hurt. However, depending on how significant the pain is, a child’s tooth pain can also be the cause of one of the following dental concerns:

If your child is experiencing tooth pain, you will want to get it treated as quickly as possible. Temporary remedies are intended to be just that — temporary. When your child has a toothache, especially in the Rochester, New York area, a trip to Judith M. Shea Pediatric Dentistry is in order. Your kid’s dentist can determine the appropriate treatment to help bring your child that much-needed comfort.

When does a child’s toothache require a trip to the emergency dentist?

Accidents happen, and emergencies ensue more than you might realize. For example, if your child knocks out a tooth or wakes up crying in the middle of the night complaining of tooth pain, you might need to make the trip to an emergency dentist. And the truth is that some emergencies do require immediate assistance. Dental emergencies include toothaches, and often some other conditions:

  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Fully or partially dislodged teeth
  • Loose cavity filling 
  • Objects or large food particles wedged between teeth
  • Lost or damaged fillings or crowns
  • Broken braces or orthodontic wires
  • Loose brackets or bands on orthodontia 
  • Injuries to the tongue, cheek, gums, or lips
  • Infections around the teeth and gums

If your child has a toothache, a home remedy can temporarily alleviate some pain, then the best course of action is to request an appointment. If your child doesn’t have a pediatric dentist and is located in the Rochester, NY area, Judith M. Shea Pediatric Dentistry would love to meet you and your child. We know that there are many benefits of choosing a pediatric dentist for your kids, and our ability to help treat your child’s toothache quickly is just one of them.

What are some home remedies to help alleviate my child’s toothache pain?

If your child’s toothache is not an emergency, but you want to help reduce their pain before your pediatric dentist appointment, there are five home remedies that you can try.

  1. Apply a cold compress – this is one of the easiest ways to reduce your child’s toothache pain. Using either a cold pack or a bag of ice wrapped in a lightweight towel, apply the compress to the cheek above the affected area. Apply the ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours.
  2. Try clove oil – if your child will allow you to do so, apply a small amount of clove oil to the affected area. Clove oil has a numbing effect which will provide temporary relief for the toothache.
  3. Rinse with warm salt water – a tried and true method is the warm salt water rinse. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water. Stir the solution, and then have your child swish the liquid around in their mouth for ten seconds. Make sure your child spits out the solution and doesn’t swallow it. If your child is not old enough to gargle, choose a different home remedy.
  4. Try an over-the-counter (OTC) medication – many parents elect to try an OTC medication in addition to another home remedy. OTC anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help dull the toothache. Be sure you adhere to the recommended dosage for children and note the time when you give your child these medications, as this will be helpful information for the emergency dentist.
  5. Bite on a peppermint tea bag – if your child is cooperative, you might want to have them bite on a peppermint tea bag. The peppermint plant is believed to have benefits tied to alleviating symptoms of the common cold, headaches, and nausea. Peppermint tea can also help reduce the pain from a toothache. Before giving your child the tea bag, be sure to steep it in water until it is lukewarm, not hot. Then, place it directly on or press it against the aching tooth.

How can I prevent a kid’s toothache?

The best way to prevent a kid’s toothache is through preventive oral care. Specifically, teach your child the following habits.

  1. Brush teeth twice a day (especially after meals), floss daily, and rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash.
  2. Visit the dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and other preventive care.
  3. Eat tooth-friendly foods such as apples, bananas, proteins, and leafy vegetables, and avoid sugary foods such as soft drinks and candy.

However, sometimes you can’t avoid a toothache — despite your best intentions. So if your child has a toothache in Rochester, NY, don’t hesitate to request an appointment. We’re happy to help you and your child be more comfortable and to get them back on the path to a happy and healthy smile.