A toothache may seem like a minor problem, but it often is a sign that your child is in need of emergency dental care. Discover what may be causing your child’s toothache and what dental treatment may be needed.
Reason #1 – Extensive Tooth Decay
Tooth decay that has been left untreated can slowly start to wear away at the enamel of your child’s teeth. When this happens, cavities start to form.
The smallest cavity can cause your child to experience a toothache that tends to come and go over time. As the cavity grows in size, which it will do if proper dental care is not sought, the toothache will occur on a more consistent basis and it will become more painful.
Reason #2 – Cracked Tooth Enamel Caused by Injury
Even though your child’s teeth may look completely normal, there could be a tiny fracture or crack that is the cause of the toothache. Tiny fractures and cracks can happen to the enamel of the teeth as a result of an injury, biting down too hard, chewing on hard objects, or untreated tooth decay.
The level of pain your child experiences as a result of a cracked tooth will vary depending upon where the crack or fracture is on the tooth. Small fractures along the top of a molar may not cause as much pain as a large crack that goes below the gum line.
Reason #3 – Gum Disease
Minor gum disease may not cause your child to experience a toothache, but moderate to severe gum disease can often cause your child to start experiencing tooth sensitivity. When a tooth is sensitive as a result of gum disease, your child may complain of having a toothache even though the tooth isn’t actually damaged.
Reason #4 – Tooth Abscess
Tooth abscesses occur when gum disease or tooth decay has worked its way to the root of the tooth and caused an infection. The infection causes a tiny pocket of pus to form in the root of the tooth. This results in your child experiencing extreme pain that doesn’t go away with OTC pain methods, or with the use of a hot or cold compress.
A tooth abscess is considered a dental emergency and should be treated right away. If it is left untreated, your child could experience bone loss or the infection can spread to the bloodstream.
Reason #5 – Food Stuck Between the Teeth
Food that gets stuck between the teeth can cause irritation to the gums. When this happens, your child can experience a minor toothache. Luckily, this is relatively easy to correct at home. Brushing and flossing usually remove the stuck food from between the teeth, and the toothache will go away over time.
Treatment Options for a Toothache
How your child’s toothache is treated will depend on what is causing the pain. Some treatment options that may be recommended include:
- Complete professional cleaning
- Scheduling regular dental appointments to correct and treat gum disease
- Filling a cavity
- Root canal treatment
- Tooth extraction
- Antibiotics for infections
A pediatric dentist can determine the cause of your child’s toothache with a brief examination and by running x-rays. After the cause of the toothache is determined, the pediatric dentist will provide you with treatment recommendations that will help relieve your child’s pain.
Schedule an Emergency Dental Visit for Your Child
While some causes of your child’s toothache, such as tooth sensitivity or stuck food, can be corrected at home, most causes of a toothache will not go away unless your child sees a dentist for treatment. Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics has emergency dental appointments available.
If your child complains of a toothache, call our office immediately and we will schedule an emergency dental appointment so your child no longer has to deal with the pain from the toothache.