No parent ever wants to see their child in pain, and a child with a toothache can experience considerable discomfort or even severe pain. It can also be particularly distressing for all of you if it’s not clear what has caused their pain. Most of the time, injury to the tooth or a cavity is the cause. If your child is suddenly overcome with toothache, here are some things that you can do to help.
Assess the situation
Try to get as much information as you can about your child’s symptoms. Does the tooth hurt all the time, or only when they are chewing? Is the tooth sensitive to hot or cold? Does it hurt when it is touched? Is the tooth loose or noticeably damaged in any way (e.g., chipped or broken)? Does your child have any other symptoms, such as a fever, swelling or fatigue? All of this information is helpful when you take your child to your dental professional to have the toothache evaluated.
Make an appointment
How soon you need to see your child’s dental professional depends on the situation:
- If there is apparent damage to the tooth, it is best to try to get them in right away.
- If the pain is not from damage or injury to the tooth and seems to come and go, then you should get them in at your provider’s earliest convenience.
- If your child looks like they are generally unwell, for example, they have a fever or facial swelling, and you think this may be caused by dental problems or tooth decay, go to your hospital emergency department or see your dentist right away, according to Raising Children Network.
The type of treatment required for a child with a toothache will depend on your health professional’s diagnosis. Treatments for infection may include oral antibiotics to help stop the infection spreading, pain relievers (over-the-counter or prescription, depending on the level of pain), repairing the damaged tooth or fillings for cavities. In some cases, it is necessary to remove the tooth altogether.
Remember, if your child is in pain and you have no choice but to wait before seeing a health professional, don’t let them suffer. Call your health professional’s office, or speak to your local pharmacist about safe pain relief options you can administer immediately.