Child Toothache

What To Do When Your Child Complains of Toothache


Did you know? According to the CDC, cavities are actually “one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States.” This is because children are often too young to understand good oral healthcare habits. Due to this, it’s important that parents keep an eye out for any signs of distress that may point to a dental problem.

Not only is bad dental health a common problem for children, however, but it’s also a fairly serious one. Cavities can cause toothaches that prevent your child from eating healthy foods or engaging in daily activities. Since those early childhood years are so important to your child’s development, it’s best to ensure that nothing interferes with them.

So today, we’re going to talk about what to do if your child begins experiencing a toothache.


When it comes to children, a toothache can be somewhat difficult to identify. This is because small children often don’t know what tooth pain feels like yet, or where it’s coming from. 

Some signs that your child may be experiencing a toothache are:

  • Pain or discomfort in their mouth/teeth.
  • Pain in the jaw area.
  • Discomfort when chewing or eating.
  • Decreased interest in eating.
  • Gnawing or a constant need to chew.

Keep in mind children have small mouths and are often unable to identify exactly where a toothache is coming from. Try not to brush off your child’s discomfort, but instead take them for a visit to your family dentist.


What To Do When Your Child Complains Of Toothache

Generally speaking, toothaches mainly occur when one of your teeth is experiencing a problem. This can either be something minor, such as tooth sensitivity, or a serious abscess. Regardless, your first course of action when notified of a toothache should be to take your child to your pediatric or family dentist. Try to do this as soon as possible.

The most important thing is not to ignore the problem – this can lead to a dental condition becoming worse down the line.

Toothache Causes

There are a variety of oral health conditions that can cause toothaches. Some of these may be minor concerns, but some may be detrimental to your child’s dental health. That’s why it’s always best to consult with a pediatric dentist – they’ll be able to diagnose the cause of the toothache and recommend a course of action to quickly fix the problem. 

Here are some possible causes of toothaches in children:

Tooth Sensitivity: In the best-case scenario, your child’s toothache may simply result from a one-off case of tooth sensitivity. In this case, your dentist might merely recommend a fluoride treatment or a specific toothpaste.

Cavities: A common and significantly serious cause of toothaches in children are cavities. These are small areas of tooth decay that need to be addressed as soon as possible so that the issue doesn’t worsen.

Gum Infections/Diseases: Another serious oral health condition is a gum infection. Although not very common in small children, it still happens occasionally. Some of the symptoms of accompanying gum disease may be swelling, tenderness, or bleeding of the gums.


Preventing Toothaches

Preventing Toothaches

Now that you know what to do if your child begins experiencing toothaches, let’s talk about how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

As you probably already know, the foundation of a healthy set of teeth is always good oral healthcare habits. This means not just brushing but flossing and avoiding sugars as well.

Please keep in mind, however, that small children are often unable or unaware of proper brushing and flossing techniques. You may have to lend them a helping hand every once in a while. Try doing your morning and afternoon oral care routine with your child so that they can learn from a good example first-hand.

In addition to all that, however, you may also want to help your child limit their intake of sugars and carbs. Since cavities are created by bacteria feeding off starches in the first place, the longer your child has sugar on their teeth, the longer they’re at risk of plaque forming.

Fortunately, a combination of good oral health habits and regular visits to your family dentist can help combat the formation of plaque. 


How To Get Rid Of A Toothache

First off, do not try to “cure” a toothache solely by using home remedies. Instead, take your child in to see your pediatric or family dentist where they can analyze the problem.

Once your dentist cleans and evaluates your child’s teeth, they will most likely recommend a course of action depending on the oral health problem that they find.

Dental Procedures

dental procedures

In a best-case scenario where your dentist does not find any tooth decay, they may recommend a simple fluoride treatment or offer some tips about avoiding acidic foods.

If, however, your dentist identifies a dental or orthodontic problem, here are some of the more common dental procedures that may be recommended for you and your child:

Fillings: For most cavities, your dentist can simply remove the decaying part of the tooth and fill it in. These filings are quick and easy dental procedures that are likely to be resolved in a single office visit. Commonly used materials for fillings include ceramic, resin and plastic (composite), gold, and silver amalgam.

Crowns: Although rare, it is possible for a child to have a significantly large amount of tooth decay. In this case, your dentist may recommend a crown. Don’t worry if this is the case. Your pediatric dentist will most likely be able to offer tooth-colored crowns so that the dental work is minimally visible.

Braces: In some cases, aching or discomfort in the mouth is simply due to overcrowding or overlapping teeth. In this case, your dentist might suggest getting your child braces.

Regardless of your dental needs, Snodgrass-King is happy to be your go-to for any pediatric concerns. Our team of dentists have years of experience under their belt and offer top-of-the-line dental care for children and adults alike.

Toothache Home Remedies

Remember that home remedies are no substitute for a dental professional. Having said that, there are several precautions you can take at home to take care of aching teeth while you are waiting for your dental appointment.

First of all, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Following that, consult with your family doctor or call your dental office to ask about pain medication for children. There is a good chance they will recommend a few over-the-counter medications to relieve your child’s pain. In this case, remember to carefully read the instructions and proper dosage information.

In the meantime, try encouraging your child to continue brushing and flossing their teeth as normal.

In terms of food – make sure your child continues receiving proper nutrients. Here are a few soft foods that may be easier to consume:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • Smoothies (or other blended fruits/veggies)
  • Soups
  • Mashed Potatoes


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few last answers to frequently asked questions regarding toothaches.

How To Get Rid Of A Toothache?

The best way to get rid of a toothache is to consult with a dental professional to address the root cause of the pain. Pain that comes from a decaying tooth will not stop until the tooth is fixed.

Can Toothache Cause Headache?

In short, yes. Many dentists believe that something called the trigeminal nerve is responsible for the link between toothaches and migraines. In addition to this, it’s important to note that small children often have a hard time distinguishing the source of a toothache and can easily mistake it for a headache.


Pediatric Dentist Near Me

Is your child experiencing a toothache? Let’s get you in touch with a qualified pediatric dentist.

Here at Snodgrass-King, we have a team of fantastic dentists ready to lend a helping hand with any dental issues. Whether your child’s toothache is due to a cavity, overcrowding, or simply tooth sensitivity, we can diagnose the problem for you. 

The best part? Our team has been working with children and parents for over 30 years, and we know all the tricks. We can help make the visit as easy and comfortable for your child as possible.

In the case that you need more than a pediatric dentist, we even offer dental services for adults. This includes teeth whitening, extractions, cleanings, regular dental check-ups, and much more. 

Simply visit this page or call our office to make an appointment. We currently offer services across a variety of office locations throughout Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Cool Springs).