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November 14, 2017

Is My Child's Toothache an Emergency?

As a parent, you never want to see your child suffer, and you want to protect their teeth as best you can. The truth, however, is that children's teeth (baby teeth especially) are incredibly susceptible to decay and damage.

If your child complains of a toothache, there may be several causes behind it. Since children may not have the vocabulary to explain exactly what they are feeling, toothaches/pain in the mouth can be from a variety of issues or conditions.

If you need an emergency dentist for your child in Lithia Springs or Douglasville, GA, Smile Symphony is here for your family! Call us and we'll help you determine whether an emergency appointment or a regular next-available appointment is needed to get your little one feeling better ASAP.

Possible Causes of a Child's Toothache

  • a baby tooth that is starting to loosen
  • a tooth that has been loosened by rough play or an accidental fall
  • a cavity or crack
  • a piece of food stuck between the tooth and gum tissue
  • injured or scratched gum tissue

Not all of these events require a visit the dentist, so keep that in mind as you question your child and investigate his or her mouth.  If you can see a dark spot on the tooth, or you determine that the pain is not from a cause that can be managed at home (for example, food that can be removed with floss), call Smile Symphony to make an appointment with Dr. Bunn.

Baby Teeth are Important, Too

Baby teeth are smaller than adult teeth and have thinner enamel, so cavities can develop and spread quickly.  Children's teeth that develop cavities should be treated the same way as adult teeth: with restorations (fillings). It may be tempting to think "it's just going to fall out soon anyway,"  and therefore doesn't need to get fixed, but baby teeth are very important. Not only does your child need all their teeth for proper chewing and speech development, but the position and alignment of baby teeth plays a role in how adult teeth grow and erupt. Always treat children's toothaches with concern, and schedule an appointment at Smile Symphony if you suspect a cavity or other dental problem.

When to Call for an Emergency Dentist Appointment

Keep a close watch on your child if he or she has complained about a tooth. If the child can eat normally with very little sensitivity, a regular next-available appointment is best. If you notice your child crying out in pain when trying to chew, or avoiding hard foods that require biting and chewing, give us a call for an emergency appointment.

If your child's normal routines are affected by the toothache, (i.e., they are unable to sleep, eat, or play as usual) or if you see tears resulting from the pain, contact us and we will advise you of the best time to come in. You know your child best; if he or she is suffering, contact us-- we will always try to make time to see you as soon as possible.

While You Wait for Your Emergency Dentist Appointment

While you wait for your emergency appointment, you may give your child over-the-counter children's painkillers (Tylenol or Advil) at the dosage recommended on the packaging. An ice-pack may also help relieve the toothache when held to the cheek on the outside of the face. Do not apply ice to the gum tissue. If these measures don't help bring your child some relief, eugenol (clove oil) applied sparingly to the tooth may numb it temporarily. Eugenol is available at most pharmacies, sometimes in "toothache kits."

Talk to your child about going to the dentist, and remind him or her that we are "tooth doctors" who want to help make the toothache go away! A painful condition almost always makes the child fearful, so any way you can allay that fear will help your child feel better during the appointment.

At Smile Symphony, we are the affordable emergency dentist to care for your family! Contact us online or call us and we'll get your little one seen as soon as possible.

We welcome new patients. Call today to learn more.
about the author

Dr. Kenneth Bunn, DMD.

I value my relationship with each and every one of my patients and hope we develop lifelong bonds.
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