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What to Do If Your Child Has a Toothache

It is never fun to watch your child suffer from a toothache. As a parent, it can be difficult to know how best to address the situation. It can be especially challenging if you are unsure of the pain’s underlying cause. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help provide relief and figure out the source of the issue so that you and your child can get back on track quickly.

1. Make an Appointment with Your Dentist

The first step in addressing your child’s toothache should always involve visiting an emergency pediatric dentist. A professional dental exam will allow them to diagnose the issue and provide the appropriate treatment accurately. If it is a minor issue, they may be able to address it during that appointment. If more serious treatment is necessary, they can explain your options and ensure you have all the information to make an informed decision.

When meeting with the dentist, provide as much information as possible. Make a note of any symptoms your child is having and how long they have been present. The more details you can provide the better equipped the staff will be to help your child quickly and effectively.

2. Provide Temporary Relief

While waiting for the appointment with their dentist, there are some things you can do at home to help provide relief in the meantime. You can give your child over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen if they are old enough. You can also use warm salt water rinses (1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water) two to three times a day to help reduce swelling and pain.

You can also use a cold compress outside the cheek to help numb and soothe the area. It’s important to remember that these measures are only temporary solutions and should not be used as long-term fixes.

3. Massage the Jaw

If the pain is in or around the jaw, you can try gently massaging it. This helps stimulate blood flow to the area and can help reduce inflammation. You can do this by placing your fingers on either side of your child’s jawbone and lightly rubbing them together in a circular motion for one minute several times a day.

Be sure to be gentle and stop if your child feels any discomfort or pain during the massage. When massaging the jaw, you may also want to have your child open and close their mouth a few times. This will help loosen any tightness in the muscles and can help provide relief.

4. Try Natural Remedies

If you prefer more natural methods, some home remedies can relieve your child’s toothache. One of the most common is clove oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and pain and numb the area. You can mix a few drops with coconut oil and apply it to the affected area several times a day.

Other natural remedies include applying garlic or raw onion directly to the affected area, diluting a few drops of tea tree oil with some water and using it as a rinse, or drinking chamomile tea to help reduce inflammation.

In addition to these remedies, you should ensure your child is eating soft foods such as oatmeal, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and yogurt. This will help ensure they put less pressure on the affected area while chewing.

5. Follow Up

Once your child has seen their dentist and received any necessary treatment, it’s important to follow up with them. This is especially true if the cause of the toothache is not immediately apparent or if any subsequent signs or symptoms, such as swelling, fever, or pain, persist after the initial treatment.

Your pediatric dentist can provide additional information about what steps to take for proper care and recovery and can answer any questions you may have. Following through with regular dental checkups is also essential in helping prevent future issues from arising.


A toothache can be a painful and stressful experience for you and your child. Fortunately, you can take steps to provide relief in the short term, as well as measures that can help prevent further issues from occurring in the long run. 

By following the advice above and staying informed, you’ll be able to help your child get the treatment they need and keep their smile healthy and pain-free.