1. Does this describe your child's symptoms?
- 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.
2. 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
3. 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.
- 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 12:00:00 AM
- Last Revised: 8/1/2011 3:30:55 PM
- Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
- Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Swedish Kids Symptom Checker is designed especially for these times. The interactive iPhone application can help you make appropriate decisions on what level of care, if any, is needed and how to provide symptom relief for minor illnesses and injuries you can manage on your own.