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How to Tell What’s Causing Your Child’s Toothache

October 13, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — lifetimedentalteam @ 9:39 pm
Boy with toothache needs to see his dentist

Does your son or daughter have a toothache? Unfortunately, there are a variety of potential culprits for your little one’s discomfort. While some problems may be easy to fix, others may require urgent dental care. While all dental pain should be looked at by your child’s dentist to diagnose the underlying cause, there are a few signs that can help you predict what might be the issue. Here are a few of the most common causes of children’s toothaches, including what warning symptoms to look out for and how to handle them.

Stuck Food

Something as simple as food debris stuck between the teeth can cause a troublesome toothache for your child. Different types of foods wedged between teeth can cause different types of discomfort, so it can be difficult to tell for sure if this is the cause of the problem. Try flossing around the painful tooth carefully and having your child rinse with water to see if that removes the debris and stops the pain.

Tooth Decay

Cavities are the number one most common cause of toothaches. In general, tooth decay feels like a dull ache or pain that persists for more than a day. Sometimes, you may be able to see a yellow-brown defect on the child’s painful tooth, usually on the biting surface of one of the molars. To manage their discomfort until you can see your children’s dentist for treatment, use over-the-counter pain relievers for kids as directed and have them avoid hot, cold, sweet, and acidic foods and beverages.  

Cracked Enamel or Loose Filling

A cracked tooth isn’t always easy to identify—the crack may be very small or hidden. Similarly, it can be difficult for your child to tell if they have a loose filling. The most common symptom of cracked enamel or a loose filling is sensitivity to hot and cold foods, drinks, or even air. This needs to be treated by a dentist with dental bonding or a dental crown right away to protect the tooth from infection.

Gum Disease

If your child is complaining of tender, sore, sensitive, or easily bleeding gums, they may have the earliest stages of gum disease. This common bacterial infection in the gum tissue affects about 50% of American children and teens and is cited as the leading cause of tooth loss in the US. Thankfully, the initial stages of gum disease can be treated and reversed with prompt attention. Your dentist may recommend a special mouthwash for your child, more thorough brushing and flossing, or a professional deep cleaning to address the painful infection.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a serious issue that can damage your child’s jawbone and cause serious infections in the rest of their body if left untreated. Warning signs of a dental abscess include intense, throbbing pain, increased pain when tapping on the tooth, or a small, pimple-like bump on the gums. Depending on the severity of your child’s case, your dentist may recommend antibiotics, root canal therapy, or a tooth extraction. On your way to the dentist, you can use OTC children’s pain relievers as directed and an ice pack to numb the pain.

If your son or daughter has a toothache—don’t panic! Call your dentist and keep this information in mind to help your little one get back to enjoying their happy, healthy smile right away!

About the Practice

Dr. Frank A. Michitti of Lifetime Dental has been serving the smiles of Feeding Hills, Agawam, and the surrounding communities since 2013. He and his team are proud to offer a wide variety of services under one roof to serve smiles of all ages. If your child is experiencing an intense toothache, don’t hesitate to contact him right away via his website or at (413) 786-4400 for an emergency appointment!

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