How to Care for a Toothache

Toothaches can creep up on your child out of nowhere. One moment they may seem perfectly fine, the next they could be holding their cheek and complaining of extreme pain. Knowing how to care for a toothache at home can help you relieve some of your child’s pain until he or she can be seen by a pediatric dentist.

The following are some suggestions for at-home care that may be able to help your child if he or she is experiencing a toothache.

Use Warm Water and Table Salt to Provide Temporary Pain Relief

The goal to providing pain relief for a toothache is to relieve some of the swelling that is occurring in the mouth. Even if you can’t see any visible signs of swelling, such as a swollen cheek or puffy gums, there could still be swelling that is occurring under the gums or in areas that cannot be seen.

You can reduce swelling by creating a mixture of warm water and table salt. Take approximately a teaspoon of salt and mix it into a small cup of warm water. Let the water cool then have your child rinse his or her mouth out with the salt water mixture and spit it out.

This pain relief method should only be tried if your child is old enough to follow directions as you do not want them to swallow the salt water mixture.

Apply a Cold Compress

Cold compresses can dramatically reduce swelling even inside the mouth. Apply a cold compress directly to your child’s cheek. Try to apply it as close to where you think the actual toothache is occurring as this will help provide the most relief.

Any type of cold object, such as a pop can or ice, can be used as a compress, but most parents prefer to use something that is soft and malleable. Gel-style ice packets or bags of frozen vegetables are often recommended as they can fit comfortably on your child’s face.

Remember when applying a cold compress to wrap the compress in a soft towel. This will help prevent your child from getting frostbite.

Give Your Child an Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

Over-the-counter pain medications can provide temporary pain relief for your child if he or she is experiencing a toothache. Make sure that any pain medication you do give your child is age appropriate. If you have any questions, please ask your child’s doctor, a pharmacist or dentist before administering the pain medication.

Children’s over-the-counter pain medicine comes in two forms: chewable pills and liquid. Both options will work, but your child may prefer a liquid pain medication. The liquid pain medication may be easier for them to swallow as chewing the pills may be painful with a toothache.

Use Clove Oil to Numb the Pain

Clove oil is a natural analgesic. It can be applied to the area where the toothache is occurring and provide temporary pain relief. Clove oil can be purchased in pure oil form or as part of an oral pain medicine.

Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

Even if your at-home care relieves your child’s toothache, he or she will still need to be seen by a pediatric dentist. Some situations, such as cavities or a slight tooth fracture, may have pain that comes and goes over time. It is important that an experienced pediatric dentist conduct a full exam to determine the cause of the toothache. Once the cause is determined, your child can get the necessary treatment he or she needs to start feeling better.

Families in the Maitland or St. Cloud area can schedule an appointment at the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. Our dentists and hygienists provide gentle dental care that is specifically tailored for children. Our comprehensive routine check-ups and examinations will help identify the cause of your child’s toothache.

If you believe your child’s toothache cannot wait until their next regularly scheduled appointment, we do offer emergency dental care. Just call us and explain the situation and our front office staff will get your child an appointment as soon as possible.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our pediatric emergency dental care.