What Is a Toothache?

It is a pain or discomfort in or around a tooth. Toothaches can range from mild to severe, usually caused by different factors. The pain may be sharp, throbbing, or constant, often aggravated by eating or drinking certain foods or liquids.

Toothaches are not always isolated pains. Instead, they can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling, fever, and difficulty opening the mouth. If left untreated, a toothache can lead to more serious dental problems.

What Causes Toothaches for Children?

Children can suffer toothaches due to many factors between infancy and adolescence. The common causes of toothaches in Children’s dentistry are:

  1. Cavities or tooth decay are common in children, usually due to poor oral hygiene and a high intake of sugary foods. When a cavity reaches the tooth’s inner layer, it can cause pain and sensitivity.
  2. An abscessed tooth is an infection within the inner layers of a tooth that causes aching, swelling, pus, and fever.
  3. Gum disease or gingivitis is a gum tissue infection leading to inflammation and pain.
  4. Tooth eruption – as a child’s teeth grow, the eruption process can cause discomfort and pain in the surrounding gums and bone tissue.
  5. Bruxism or excessive teeth grinding puts unnecessary pressure on teeth and jawbone, causing toothaches, among other dental problems.
  6. Trauma to teeth or gums, usually through injuries such as a fall.
  7. A sinus infection sometimes causes pain in the upper jaw leading to the aching of the upper teeth.

How to Know Yours Child Has a Toothache

Children may not always be able to communicate that they are experiencing a toothache, especially when very young. However, here are a few signs that can help you determine if your child has a toothache:

  1. Children may complain of pain or discomfort in their mouth or teeth, sometimes rubbing or touching the problematic area.
  2. Difficulty eating or drinking
  3. Swelling or redness in the gums or cheek
  4. Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  5. Persistent bad breath
  6. Irritability or fussiness

How Should You Handle a Child’s Toothache?

The first order of business, when your child has a toothache is to identify a dental clinic in Vancouver you can rush to for emergency dental care. Often, kids complain of toothaches when the pain is too severe, needing urgent care. Therefore, if your child complains of a toothache, here are some steps to alleviate their pain and protect their oral health before visiting Vancouver Dentistry:

  1. Gently clean the painful tooth to remove any food particles or debris that may be causing the discomfort.
  2. Rinse the child’s mouth with warm salt water to help reduce inflammation and pain.
  3. Apply a cold compress or ice pack on the outside of your child’s cheek to help reduce swelling and temporarily numb the area before getting treated.
  4. Administer over-the-counter age-appropriate pain relief medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  5. Encourage your child to eat healthily and avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods, which may aggravate toothache.
  6. Encourage good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing twice daily. Consider also visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
  7. Schedule a dental appointment soon for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

How Will a Dentist Treat a Child’s Toothache?

No matter how well-managed the toothache is, your child still needs to visit us at Enhance Dental Centre for treatment. Some of the treatment approaches we employ for toothaches are:

  1. Cleaning: When the cause of the toothache is decay or gum disease, the dentist may first recommend a dental cleaning to remove any bacteria or debris. Deep cleaning protocols like scaling and root planing are usually necessary for gum disease but not so much for tooth cavities.
  2. Tooth fillings: The dentist will fill the hole in the tooth with a filling material.
  3. Extraction: In some cases, the tooth is too damaged for salvaging, requiring removal.
  4. Root canal: Did you know that children, too, need root canals? Dentists perform them when a toothache is due to an underlying infection in the tooth. The treatment removes the infected tissues within the tooth to preserve and prevent extraction.
  5. Antibiotics: The dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection that may trigger the toothache.