A Guide To Children’s Tooth Pain

How to Know If Your Child Has a Toothache

Most older children can simply tell you when they experience tooth pain, but if your child is young or nonverbal, there are other signs to look for. Your child may drool more than usual or refuse food if their mouth hurts. Some children are also resistant to brushing their teeth if the friction causes sensitivity or pain. 

Causes of Toothaches in Children

Some of the most common causes of toothaches in babies, toddlers, and younger children are from teeth that are emerging. You might notice the gums look swollen and are tender to the touch. Loose teeth in older kids can also lead to sensitivity and discomfort that will subside when the tooth comes out.

Teeth that are decaying and cavities often cause pain and are some of the most common dental problems in children. If your child has a cavity, it will need to be filled by a dentist.

Damage to the teeth, such as chips or cracks from a misaligned bite or injury, can cause a toothache and should always be evaluated by a dentist.

One of the most serious causes of toothache is a tooth abscess. An abscess is an infection that usually causes severe pain. You may also see a spot of pus that looks like a pimple under your child's gums.

What to Do If Your Child Has a Toothache

Mild tooth pain, especially from emerging or loose teeth, usually goes away on its own and doesn't need further treatment. You should call your dentist if your child complains of pain lasting more than 24 hours with no identifiable cause. 

For babies and toddlers with erupting teeth, giving them something cool to chew on, such as a clean wet cloth or a chilled teething ring, is usually enough to relieve the pain.

You can help keep your child more comfortable at home by placing a cold wet compress or an ice pack wrapped in a towel against the outside of their cheek for 10 minutes at a time. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or aspirin, can also help. Just be sure that you're giving your child the proper dose for their age and weight. Never give a child aspirin.

If your child is experiencing severe pain or runs a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you should seek emergency medical attention since these can be signs of a serious infection that could spread to other parts of their body if it goes untreated.

It's important to take your child to the dentist for regular examinations and cleanings once every six months. If your child is complaining of tooth pain, sensitivity, or other dental problems, make an appointment with a children's dentist for an evaluation as soon as possible.