How to Treat Tooth Pain in Children

Tooth pain is hard to deal with, but it’s even harder when it’s your child who’s experiencing it.

The way to deal with tooth pain will depend greatly on what’s going on with your child’s mouth, the age of your child, how well your child can communicate, and other factors.

The most important thing to do is to establish whether it’s a tooth that’s hurting or it is something else. This is not as easy as it sounds. While an adult will tell you right away, a child might be so overcome by emotion or pain that he or she will have trouble communicating. If the child is very young, it may be difficult to express what he or she is feeling.

However, you must try your best. Sometimes, the problem is not the tooth, but the gums. In other cases, the child might have bitten his or her own tongue. Sometimes food has become painfully wedged between teeth or under the gum line.

If it’s a toothache, then the best solution is to take the child to a dentist. Unfortunately, this is not always possible to do right away, for example, if the incident happens late at night. In those cases, you might try an age-appropriate painkiller that’s specifically designed for children.

Another thing to consider is whether it’s a milk tooth (baby tooth) or a permanent (adult) tooth. With a baby tooth, chances are that the tooth may simply be ready to come out. Check if the tooth is loose and follow the recommendations of your child’s dentist. The age when a child begins to lose their baby teeth may vary, so it is a good idea to prepare for it by discussing what will happen well before it does.

There are other remedies for helping to ease the pain, including rinsing with a glass of warm (not hot) water with a teaspoon of salt. If it’s hard for your child to open his or her mouth, gently press a warm folded washcloth outside the cheek. If a warm cloth does not work, some toothaches are more soothed by cold compresses. Avoid cold or hot drinks or chewing foods until your child has been examined.

Your attitude is very important. You have to show that you are confident and that this will all be over soon, not to worry. However, if you display too much anxiety or panic, you’ll risk making the experience even scarier for your child.

Finally, take your child to a dentist as soon as possible.

If you are interested in pediatric dental care in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help me Find a Dentist” form. A participating dental specialist will reply to your needs.