We all know that toothaches are incredibly unpleasant, ranging from mild discomfort to incredibly painful. Some people will wait until the pain is absolutely unbearable before getting to a dentist, taking over-the-counter medications and trying to ignore it in the meantime.
Other people will get to a dentist at the first sign of any dental distress. Bottom line, adults are going to handle it however they see fit (although you really should be seeing a dentist straightaway). But what do we do when it’s our child with the toothache?
Causes and symptoms of a toothache
The first step to being able to treat a toothache at home is knowing exactly what symptoms your child is experiencing. Typically, toothaches can include the following:
- Pain that is dull, sharp, throbbing, constant, or any combination of these
- Swelling of the gums around the affected tooth
- Foul-tasting drainage from infected tooth
These symptoms are often the result of:
- Erupting teeth
- Tooth decay
- Fractured tooth
- Food stuck between the teeth or in the gum line
- Excessive chewing or tooth grinding
- Damaged filling
- Infected gums
At home toothache treatment
Once you know what the symptoms are, there are a number of ways you can ease your child’s discomfort until you are able to get him/her to a dentist:
- You can mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water, and have them swish it around their mouth, then spit it out (if they’re old enough).
- An oral anti-inflammatory will help with the pain as well.
- If you can, use a liquid, as a chewable pill may be difficult when a toothache is involved.
- A cold compress on the cheek by the sore area will help reduce pressure and swelling.
- Ice cubes have hard edges and may further aggravate the area, so use a malleable, cold gel-style compress. Make sure to protect your child’s skin with a towel as well – you don’t want their skin getting too cold.
- Clove oil is another option, as it acts as a topical analgesic.
- If you do use clove oil, be very careful, as essential oils are strong when undiluted. Alternatively, you can pick up an over-the-counter, child-safe, toothache medication that contains clove oil.
Get them to the dentist
While these things may help your child feel some measure of relief, you’ll want to get them to a dentist rather quickly. Does your child have a tooth that is bothering them? Come see Dr. Chauvin!