Pediatric Dentistry Tips: Dealing With a Child’s Toothache

Pediatric Dentistry Richmond, TX

Those who follow pediatric dentistry understand how vital the work is. Dealing with patients as young as infants can prove challenging to those who are not prepared. Parents often rely on these providers to help their children. When it comes to a child's dental health, a toothache may become a huge problem. Consider these pediatric dentistry tips from those who are trained on how to deal with this issue.

Common causes of toothaches in children

Several different factors can bring on a toothache. Kids cannot always vocalize what exactly is wrong. Depending on the child's age, they may tell parents that their mouth hurts, but not much more. A toothache may point to a specific condition or a mouth injury that requires medical attention. Understanding what sets off a toothache is the first step in avoiding future discomfort.

A trip to the pediatric dentist is warranted if a parent is unsure about what is causing the pain. The following are the most common causes of tooth pain in children.

Teeth coming in

The emergence of either primary or permanent teeth is a typical source of dental discomfort. The tooth erupts through the gums, putting pressure on the surrounding tissue and possibly causing pain. This is common in infants and young children, but it may also happen to older children who still have their primary (baby) teeth. When biting down, a loose baby tooth may put pressure on the gum and the permanent tooth that is still developing, resulting in a painful toothache.

Tooth decay

Cavities are the most prevalent cause of children's toothaches. The reason is that children will feel considerable pain when decay reaches the inner layers of the tooth, where the nerves are located. Tooth pain may develop into a painful dental infection or an abscess if left untreated. Small cavities should be treated as soon as possible to prevent them from worsening and causing discomfort.

Broken or chipped teeth

When a tooth sustains damage due to dental trauma, the child may experience pain. When a tooth is broken, the inner layers are exposed to air and food, which causes teeth to become sensitive and leads to severe discomfort. 

Food stuck between teeth

Children may complain of a toothache because of food that has gotten lodged between their teeth or beneath their gums. Stuck food particles may irritate the gums and teeth and cause discomfort that flossing does not fix. Popcorn, almonds, and pretzels are the most common foods to worry about.

Pediatric dentistry tips on dealing with pain

What happens when a toothache crops up in the middle of the night or on the weekend? Unless there are signs of a severe infection or injury, a parent may be able to help with the pain at home until the dentist's office opens.

Wash the mouth out

Warm water and salt make a dynamic duo for cleaning out the mouth. A saltwater rinse can help dislodge any particles around the sore area and help remove bacteria that may be hanging around. The parent can examine the area that hurts. If the gums are swollen and red and there is a noticeable bubble, the problem may be an abscess or infection, especially if the child also has a fever. This requires a trip to an emergency dentist, as does a visual hole, crack, or chip in the tooth or gum in the area of the pain.

Administer over-the-counter pain medication

Depending on the child's age, the parent may give an over-the-counter pain medication to help ease the pain. If the child reports a reduction in pain, the issue may be a new tooth coming in and not something worse. Parents may also try a numbing gel that can be applied to gums if an erupting tooth is the culprit.

Call the dentist

Even if it is the weekend, continued pain warrants a call to the dentist's office. The staff can ask more questions to help diagnose the problem. Various solutions may be offered, such as gently brushing and flossing the tender area to remove food that may be stuck. However, if the gums or tooth show any apparent signs that something is wrong, skip this and request an appointment.


Dental practices that deal with kids understand the need for sensitivity and quick action to help ease any kind of oral discomfort that a child feels. Pediatric dentistry offices are an invaluable resource in the event of a toothache.

Request an appointment here: or call Grand Parkway Pediatric Dental at (832) 579-0960 for an appointment in our Richmond office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dentist in Richmond, TX.

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