Back To Blog

What to do when your child gets a toothache

28 September 2016

If your child develops a toothache, it's easy to feel helpless when faced with their discomfort.

However hopeless it might seem, there's no need to fret or panic, as our gentle approach to dealing with children's toothache will help you to ease their pain and banish your anxiety.

We've all felt the pain of toothache at some point in our lives and so we know what our little ones are going through. However, despite their pain they're often reluctant to let anyone help them, especially if it requires opening their mouths where the pain is.

This means that you have to find a way to help your child, without upsetting them or making them even more scared than they already are. Before we talk about how to deal with toothache in children, let's look at the main cause of tooth decay.

The number one cause of tooth decay is eating too much sugar. If your child eats lots of sweets, cakes and sugary drinks, the bacteria that live in the mouth will break this sugar down into an acid which combines with the calcium in the enamel to cause erosion and decay, and ultimately pain.

Tooth pain can come in several guises. It can be a sharp pain or just a general soreness around a particular tooth or teeth. Some children may not even tell that they're having trouble, while others may exaggerate the level of pain they're feeling.

It may be that the pain is not due to tooth decay at all, but is down to a mouth ulcer or swollen gums. Start by asking your child to point to where they're feeling the pain. As they open their mouth, check for red spots or any signs of swelling.

If you can't see anything untoward, then it is likely to be some kind of toothache, and you should make an appointment for your child to see your dentist. In the meantime while you are waiting for the appointment, you may want to try a simple home remedy for toothache.

  • Rubbing garlic or clove oil onto the tooth is a long established natural toothache remedy. If your child refuses to let you do this, try putting the oil on their finger and ask them to do it themselves. Remind them to do it gently.
  • Cut small pieces of potato and refrigerate. Once they're cold ask your child to place one against the painful tooth. The coldness will soothe the pain and reduce any associated swelling.
  • Mint is also a natural toothache remedy. Make a poultice of dried mint or peppermint leaves and place it against the affected tooth for a few minutes (as long as your child is old enough to understand that they shouldn't eat or swallow this). Repeat this several times.
  • If your child still refuses to open their mouth, put a warm, damp towel on the outside of his cheek to provide some relief.
  • You can also use over-the-counter pain medication that's appropriate for the age of your little one.

When it comes to appointment time, make sure that you attend, even if your child says that the toothache has disappeared. Let the dentist check their teeth as there may be an underlying problem that you can't see.

If your child is anxious about their visit to the dentist, make it part of a trip to the park or some other place that your child enjoys going. Just make sure that you visit the dentist first. Also, see our kids braces page for information on how we straighten children's teeth. 

Recent Reviews

Zara Jade

“Excellent service, very professional. Good value for money. Staff were very friendly and knowledgable. I would highly recommend this dental practice.”

Pat Cassidy

“Very efficient and painless experience with my implant! Magda, Mel, Christiane and Joaquin were all so kind, so helpful and very professional!”

Judith Ryan

“I’m a very nervous patient when it comes to my teeth. They’re extremely sensitive. Rosario in 3Dental Limerick was fantastic. She did an amazing job and had such a kind and understanding attitude. I...”

Yahya Albalawi

“My son got his tooth extracted in another practice (Smiles Dental Limerick). 3 days later he got an infection and he was in a real pain. He could not eat and he could not sleep well. Smiles Dental...”

Evie Doyle

“I had braces fitted by Paul at 3Dental and I am really happy with the result. It was hassle free and a brilliant experience. The staff were always very helpful and friendly throughout my time with...”

Aroma Bar

“If you need a very good dental clinic with good professionals, with a very well done job, then you have at least 3 reasons to choose 3Dental Dublin, The Red Cow House, Dublin 22: 1. Professional...”

Gerald Walsh

“I called the reception in Sept 2019 to get a quote on work I was thinking of doing for many years. The receptionist was so kind and I made an appointment to see Dr Fearghal O'Connell soon after. He...”

Serena

“Have to say 3Dental are a brilliant team of people but I have to say Dr. Andoni Jones is amazing such a lovely man and made me feel at total ease when doing my implant which I have dreaded and put of...”

Damien Gill

“I have suffered bad dental health for over 10 years and have been to many, many dentists. My wife heard an ad on radio and said to give them a try and turned out to be best decision ever. Have had...”

Helen Brady Skidmore

“So happy with my first visit yesterday with 3Dental, been so terrified of the dentist. The staff where so professional from checking in at reception to the lady I had cleaning my teeth Zaneta. She...”

Séamus Tully

“THE DENTIST!! Dun dun duuunn. Wow. All I can say is that the old misconception of going to the dentist is now well gone. My daughter pointed me in the direction of 3Dental as she is currently in the...”

Deborah Coombes

“My mam asked me to write this review on her behalf. Yesterday she had all the teeth removed from the top and implants fitted top and bottom. She then had her temporary teeth fitted and will return...”

Ashley Catherine Dooley

“Came today as an emergency appointment the staff were so friendly. Highly recommend”

Em Emzy

“I had braces on with 3Dental, the results are amazing I'm delighted with my teeth now! Here are pictures of before and after of my teeth”

Adrianna McDermott

“Got my braces with 3Dental a few years ago and still continue to go back for check ups. I cannot recommend Dr. Paul enough. He is amazing at his job. I never thought I'd have perfect straight teeth...”

Ana Miricescu

“I had my young daughter in 3Dental for few different treatments. Paul and Anna were absolutely amazing, most professional, nice and friendly people and I would never hesitate to recommend 3Dental and...”

Jennifer Byrne

“After being terrified of going to the dentist for years I went to 3Dental for my veneers to be done, from the moment I walked in I felt so relaxed and welcome by all the lovely staff there. I saw Dr....”

Paula Slattery

“The staff are so friendly and professional. I got an implant a few weeks back and was very nervous but the staff made me feel so relaxed and the procedure was so quick and painless. I would highly...”

Georgina Daly

“Love it every time I go! Paul (my dentist) is truly a gentleman - making my dreams come true from day 1. I was told by multiple dentists that I couldn't be helped because my teeth were a severe case....”

Gina Styles

“I had an emergency visit I was looked after so well. As I was very nervous but I felt comfortable and I'm looking forward to dental plan they explained i should have done. Highly recommend 3Dental.”

Ready for the Next Step? Book Your Free Consultation

Book A Consultation View Pricing Options