- Pain or discomfort in a tooth
- Not due to an injury
- Main Cause: tooth decay
- Food wedged between the teeth
- Injured tooth
Tooth Abscess and Severe Pain
- A tooth abscess can cause severe pain not controlled by non-prescription pain medicines.
- Root canal therapy by an endodontist is needed to cure this problem.
- In the meantime, if your child's dental office is closed, your doctor or dentist can bring the pain under control within hours by calling in a prescription for penicillin or amoxicillin.
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call Your Dentist or Doctor Now (night or day) If
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Fever is present
- Face is swollen
- Severe pain and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Dentist Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Toothache present over 24 hours
- Brown cavity visible in the painful tooth
- Red or yellow lump present at the gumline of the painful tooth
Call Your Dentist During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
- Mild toothache present less than 24 hours and you don't think your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MILD TOOTHACHE
- Reassurance: Most toothaches are temporary and due to a sensitive tooth. If the pain becomes worse or doesn't resolve in 24 hours, it could be due to a small cavity.
- Floss: Floss on either side of the painful tooth to remove any wedged food.
- Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen for pain relief.
- Local Cold: Apply a cold pack or ice in a wet washcloth to the painful jaw for 20 minutes.
- Expected Course: Most minor causes of toothache resolve in less than a day.
- Call Your Dentist If:
- Toothache persists over 24 hours
- The toothache becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/15/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.