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Dr. Angelica R. Rohner
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Terrible Toothache: Is It Considered a Dental Emergency?

March 4, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drrohner @ 7:53 pm
Boy in red shirt holding hand to his jaw in pain

Has your child been complaining of a toothache that doesn’t seem to go away? If so, you might be wondering how serious it is and whether you need to call their emergency dentist. Dental problems generally don’t go away on their own and no pain is considered ‘normal’ for their mouths. That means if they’re letting you know that something hurts, it might indicate a larger and more serious issue. Keep reading to learn more about the possible causes behind your child’s aching and what you can do to help them!

What Causes Toothaches?

Did you know that a toothache is considered one of the most common dental emergencies faced by people of all ages? This is because it often points to more serious issues that require immediate attention, like:

  • Tooth decay. Harmful bacteria can thrive in your child’s mouth which form acids that wear down their enamel and cause cavities. This can be prevented by thoroughly brushing and flossing their teeth twice daily.
  • Infection. Your kid’s pearly whites can be worn down if they chew on too many hard foods or inanimate objects. This can expose the root which can then become infected by germs in their mouth. This can lead to throbbing and swelling in their teeth and jaw and may require a root canal to repair.
  • Impacted teeth. If your little one’s permanent teeth are blocked or don’t erupt fully, they can develop a tender cyst (a fluid-filled sac) around the roots. If left untreated, it can impact their neighboring teeth and jawbone, too.
  • Chipped or broken teeth. Bacteria can deeply penetrate your child’s tooth if it’s chipped or fractured in some capacity. This can happen if they have bitten into something too hard, if they have poor oral hygiene, or if they sustain some kind of physical trauma to their mouth or face.

What Can I Do to Alleviate My Child’s Toothache?

If your child has developed a toothache, call their emergency dentist as soon as you’re able. They’ll gather information from you, provide any special care instructions as appropriate, and then schedule them for an appointment. Then, while you wait, you can give your kid some much-needed relief by:

  • Using an ice pack. Applying a cold compress to the side of your child’s face that’s hurting can temporarily numb the area and reduce swelling.
  • Providing medication. It’s usually safe to take over-the-counter medicines like children’s Tylenol or ibuprofen to alleviate throbbing and address inflammation.
  • Avoid treating it yourself. You may be tempted to try to take care of the problem yourself, but this often exacerbates the underlying problem. You could make their pain worse or spread the infection.

Even if you’re not sure your kid’s toothache is a true emergency, it’s wisest to err on the side of caution. Let their dentist know what’s going on and they can help walk you through the next steps to get your little one the care they need.

About the Author

Dr. Angelic R. Rogner provides a wide range of services to help children build and maintain happy, healthy smiles regardless of their unique needs. She earned her undergraduate degree in early childhood development and education and then earned her D.M.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. She then achieved an advanced degree in Pediatric Dentistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Today, she uses state-of-the-art technology to quickly identify problems and recommend appropriate solutions. If your little one has a toothache and needs to be seen urgently, she offers same-day appointments so you don’t have to wait for relief. You’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (205) 870-0892.

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