What to Do About Your Child's Toothache Before Seeing the Dentist
Posted on 12/4/2017 by Michael Mettler
If your child starts to complain of tooth pain without an accompanying fever or facial swelling, it is likely not an emergency. Still, you should have our team at Enhanced Dental Care check it—and the sooner the better if the pain persists or keeps your child up at night. There are a number of potential causes, any of which if untreated could be detrimental to your child's dental health.
Before coming in, though, you can do a quick check of your child’s mouth to see if you notice any abnormalities. The most common cause for a toothache is tooth decay, which you might be able to see evidence of in the form of cavities or brown spots on the tooth’s biting surfaces. If you notice swollen or reddened gums around a tooth, this could be a possible sign of a localized area of infection known as an abscess. You should also ask your child if they fell or were hit in the mouth and look for any signs of an injury.
If you don’t see anything unusual, there may be another cause—stuck food like a piece of popcorn or candy lodged and exerting painful pressure on the gum tissue or tooth. You may be able to intervene in this case: gently floss around the affected tooth to try to dislodge any food particles. The pain may ease if you’re able to remove any. Even so, if you see abnormalities in the mouth or the pain doesn’t subside, you should definitely plan to come in for an examination.
In the meantime, you can help ease discomfort with a child-appropriate dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen. An ice pack against the outside jaw may also help, but be careful not to apply ice directly to the skin. And under no circumstances rub aspirin or other painkiller directly on the gums—like ice, these products can burn the skin. If these efforts don’t help you should try to see us the same day or first thing the next morning for advanced treatment.
The main thing is not to panic. Knowing what to look for and when to see us will help ensure your child’s tooth pain will be cared for promptly.
If you would like more information on handling dental issues with your child, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. Dr. Jonathan Gantz and his staff in Walla Walla would love to help you and your family. Call us today for an appointment at 509-525-9111.