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5 Ways to Help a Child With a Toothache

Kid with a toothache

Nobody likes dealing with a toothache, but it’s especially difficult to watch your child suffer from pain in their teeth or gums. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, over 10% of children have had a toothache sometime over the past six months. The fact is, at some point or another, you’ll likely have to help your kid with a toothache. When it happens, do you know what to do to bring them relief?

First: Make a Dentist Appointment
If the pain is caused by a cavity, a dentist is the only one who can help long-term. It’s better to make an appointment sooner, rather than later.

Here at Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental, we regularly help children deal with toothaches. Additionally, we’re eager to educate parents on how to help their child deal with this painful problem until our pediatric dentists can take a look. We asked Dr. Ben Salar to share five simple, yet effective ways to help bring your child relief.

1. Apply Ice

The simplest way to help a kid with a toothache is to apply ice to the general area where your child is complaining of pain. Start with an ice pack and wrap it in a clean towel to keep the ice from directly touching the skin. Then, have your child gently press it against the outer part of their mouth that’s closest to the pain.

Dr. Salar says: A bag of frozen peas makes an excellent ice pack. The small peas mold around the face much more easily than ice cubes or other types of store-bought ice packs.

2. Warm salt water

Although this may seem to run counter to the advice of using a cold compress, both heat and ice have their uses when helping a kid with a toothache. The warm salt water, when swished around the mouth for 30 seconds to a minute, is an effective method of killing bacteria in the mouth. If your toothache is related to a cavity or an infection in the teeth or gums, this should bring relief.

Dr. Salar says: Be careful with younger children when they swish with salt water. Their natural tendency is to swallow the salt water, which can cause stomach issues.

3. Clove Oil

For those who are looking for a simple, natural remedy, clove oil can be effective in helping a kid with a toothache. There are two ways to utilize the pain-numbing effects of clove oil:

  • Place oil directly on the affected area by first putting a small amount of the oil on the tip of a cotton swab. Then, gently dab the swab on the area where your child is complaining of pain.
  • Combine clove oil with a carrier oil so that your child can swish the oil in their mouth. We recommend coconut oil, which is one of the most popular carrier oils because of its pleasant taste.

Dr. Salar says: Clove oil has a very distinct flavor that some children love, but others are not as keen on. To help your child acclimate to the taste, allow them to taste a clove-flavored candy.

4. Use Over-the-Counter Medication

If your child is still complaining of pain, you may want to consider medication like acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) or ibuprofen (brand names such as Motrin or Advil). Remember to follow the recommended dosages carefully. Dosages are given by weight, not by age, so keep this in mind.

Dr. Salar says: Remember that utilizing OTC medication is a helpful tool, but it doesn’t solve the issue of whatever is causing your child’s pain in the first place. After the symptoms subside, the underlying problem still exists.

5. Ask for An Emergency Dentist Visit

The best way to help a kid with a toothache is to take them to a pediatric dentist. If the pain is severe, your dentist may be able to fit them in for an emergency visit. The dentist will do a thorough examination, likely including x-rays to get a complete look at your child’s mouth. After the exam, your child’s dentist will make a diagnosis and give you treatment options.

Dr. Salar says: Home remedies and over-the-counter medications are wonderful, but there’s no substitute for a visit to the pediatric dentist!

Visit Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental of Reno

If you have a kid with a toothache, visit one of the six locations of Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental in the Reno area. We’d be glad to help you schedule an appointment so your child can get the relief they need from their tooth pain. Our friendly offices are ready to assist you, so contact us today if you have any questions.