In the majority of cases, a toothache is a temporary condition, usually due to a sensitivity. If, however, your child has been complaining about a painful tooth for several days, the likely culprits could include food lodged between teeth or along the gum line, a cavity or an infection. An immediate call to your dentist is necessary, but there are a few things you can do in the meantime to ease your child's discomfort.
Give An Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
Call your child's doctor to determine an appropriate dose, but an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can reduce the pain until you can take your child to the dentist. These can also be offered several times a day, but be sure to follow a pediatrician's dosing instructions carefully.
Apply a Cold Pack
A cold pack pressed against the cheek where the pain is located can help numb the pain and relieve your child's symptoms. A piece of ice wrapped in a dry washcloth can also help. Apply the cold pack for about 20 minutes several times a day.
Floss Your Child's Teeth
If your child's toothache is due to a piece of food lodged between two teeth or along the gum line, flossing can be an immediate way to relieve the pain and discomfort. Gently work a piece of floss between the teeth in the area where your child says the pain is localized. A floss pick can be used to gently run along the gum line to remove any food wedged there. Do not push the floss pick into your child's gums because that can cause further damage.
Offer Your Child Salt Water
Show your child how to swish salt water around in the mouth. The salt will help numb the pain. This treatment is appropriate for older children who understand the difference between swishing and spitting and swallowing the water.
Use Oil of Cloves
Always ask your child's pediatrician or dentist before using oil of cloves so you are sure to use an appropriate dose. Oil of cloves acts as a natural pain reliever and can ease your child's toothache. The oil is available over-the-counter at most drugstores and retail stores that sell medication.
When to Seek Emergency Treatment
In many cases, you can safely wait a day or two until you can get your child into see a dentist, such as Joseph Craig. There are times, however, that you should not wait and should instead seek emergency medical treatment at an emergency room or emergency dentist office. If your child has a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, has a swollen face or is acting sick, you need to seek treatment. If your child's pain doesn't improve with over-the-counter medication, you should also get medical treatment right away.