When your child complains of a painful tooth, sometimes it is just a temporarily sensitive tooth. If the toothache persists, however, it usually means that your child has tooth decay or a cavity. One complication of a decaying tooth is a gumboil just below the gumline. The infection in the tooth may also spread to the face (causing a swollen cheek) or to the lymph node just under the jawbone.
First use dental floss on either side of the painful tooth. The removal of a jammed piece of food may bring quick relief.
First treat the toothache with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). If the pain lasts more than a day or becomes severe, call your dentist. A cold pack on the jaw for 20 minutes may also help.
If you cannot see a dentist for several days and an open cavity is visible, clean all food out of the cavity with a toothpick, Water-Pik, or water in a syringe. Put in a few drops of oil of cloves (80% eugenol). You won't need a prescription to get oil of cloves at your drugstore. If the cavity is large, pack it with a small piece of cotton soaked with oil of cloves. Try to keep the oil of cloves off the tongue because it stings. The cavity can also be temporarily sealed with melted candle wax. Just rub it in with your fingertip.
Have your child swish warm salt water around in his mouth. This can help reduce gum swelling, and reduce tooth pain.
Remind your child to brush his teeth, especially the back molars, after every meal. Be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste. If your city's water supply doesn't have fluoride added to it, ask your healthcare provider for a prescription for fluoride during your next routine visit. Make sure your child has regular dental check-ups.
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