How to Treat Your Child’s First Toothache

For parents, there’s no greater pain than seeing your children in pain. And your child’s first toothache can be particularly distressing for parents searching for the best way to alleviate their child’s throbbing discomfort.

Toothaches have a variety of root causes. Most often, they are the result of a cavity. In some cases, a tooth may be broken. Still in other cases, the cause can be nothing more than a piece of food that has become wedged between teeth. But toothaches aren’t something you can expect to heal themselves or a matter the Tooth Fairy can take care of.

Before calling your dentist’s hotline, ask your child to point to the source of their pain (sometimes kids’ oral pain can be as simple as a bit lip or tongue). Once you’ve determined your child’s pain is emitting from their tooth, use dental floss – dentists’ recommended first step – to searched for wedged or trapped food particles that may be causing the pain. After flossing, try rinsing the area with warm water or a salt water mix. A cold pack can alleviate swelling.

If the toothache persists, administer Tylenol, Advil or an over-the-counter containing benzocaine. Be sure to give children only a limited amount and do not give to any children under two years old.

Never put aspirin directly on the tooth or the gums. Direct contact can lead to soft tissue damage and even a fatal disease known as Reye’s syndrome.

A note of caution: These are only temporary solutions. If your child’s toothache persists, contact a pediatric dentist within 24 hours.

“(All short-term toothache treatments do) is put a Band-Aid on the problem,” Dr. Michael McCunniff, chairman of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Public Health and Behavioral Science, told USA Today. “It doesn’t cure it.”

And if your child’s symptoms include throbbing pain, fever, fatigue or malaise, see a doctor as soon as possible. For cases where children have trouble swallowing or breathing, visit an emergency room immediately.

A child’s first toothache can leave both of you feeling helpless and in tough pain, but there’s no toothache that a smart parental response plan can’t have feeling fine in short time.

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