What are the most common causes of a toothache in children?

Posted on Feb 17, 2021 in News

There are various causes of toothache in children, and as parents, the first thing we naturally want to do is to discover the cause and find ways to relieve them of this pain. Dr Carmen Colomar, a paediatric dentist and member of Dr Moira Wong’s highly experienced team, is here to provide answers to the most common questions regarding toothache in children.

What are the common causes of toothache in children?

The most common cause of toothache in children is from cavities (a hole in the tooth) caused by dental decay. Dental decay occurs when we consume too many sugary drinks and food and don’t clean our teeth well enough. When these sugars and starches aren’t cleaned off your teeth properly, bacteria start to grow and eventually, plaque forms around your teeth. This plaque then erodes the enamel covering the teeth and causes small openings or holes, exposing the nerves and blood vessels and causes toothache.

Gingivitis is another condition that is quite common in children and caused by plaque build-up. It causes the gums to swell and bleed easily when brushing. In young children, gum inflammation can happen due to teething which causes pain in the mouth, however, both of these conditions are related to the gums rather than the teeth.

What can I do for my child’s toothache?

If your child is experiencing a toothache, you should take them straight to the dentist to get it checked out and treated promptly. To temporarily relieve the pain in the meantime, you can give them painkillers, such as Calpol® – paracetamol for children – and also ibuprofen if the Calpol® doesn’t fully relieve the pain.

Can you get rid of a toothache at home?

It depends on what causes the toothache. If it’s due to teething then maybe painkillers can help. However, in the majority of cases, you cannot fully relieve the toothache at home simply because you probably won’t know what exactly is causing it. For example, if it’s a hole, then this cannot be treated at home and a dentist is needed to fix the problem.

What medicine is ok to give a child for tooth pain?

There are two types of medication I would recommend giving children, which is Calpol® and anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. I wouldn’t go any further and give them more medication without consulting a dentist first.

What should I do if my child has swollen gums?

Swelling in the gums can be due to poor brushing techniquesgingivitis (inflammation of the gum), trauma, or from a tooth infection (abscess). There are also times when viral infections can spread to the soft tissues in the mouth causing sores. If your child is experiencing swollen or painful gums, you shouldn’t diagnose it yourself but instead, take them to the dentist to have this assessed.

When should I take my child to the dentist with a toothache?

If your child’s toothache isn’t going away, especially after 24 hours, then you should make an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible. If you find your child’s pain does subside before you see a dentist, you should take them anyway to get it checked out as it might be a cavity which can lead to an abscess if not treated.

Visit Dr Wong’s Top Doctors profile to find out how she and her highly skilled team at Moira Wong Orthodontics can care for your child’s dental needs.

If you have dental concerns, please make an appointment with us.
Dr. Moira Wong – Orthodontist

An exceptionally skilled orthodontist who simply loves to improve the smiles of adults and children.

Dr Moira Wong (GDC no: 67960, UK) developed an ambition to specialise in the field of orthodontics during her time as a dentistry student at the London Hospital Medical College. After graduating in 1994, she gained experience in all fields of dentistry prior to specialisation. This included working as part of the Pennstar trauma team at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Wong’s career pathway began with a spell as a house officer in prosthetic dentistry at the Royal London Hospital, followed by senior house officer positions at the Bristol Dental Hospital. During this period she gained her fellowship in dental surgery and worked in the paediatric dentistry department, treating special needs children and addressing complicated developmental problems. She also worked with adults requiring the replacement of multiple teeth.

Returning to London to take up a position as a senior house officer in oral surgery, Dr Wong gained experience in dental and facial surgery. One of her busiest nights was helping with the suturing of patients following a national rail crash.

Dr Wong was then accepted onto the specialty training programme at Guy’s Hospital, where she spent a further three years gaining her master’s degree. She continued onto a consultant training programme at King’s College and St George’s Hospital, gaining her Fellowship in orthodontics. Currently less than 300 UK practitioners have this level of training, with just 5 to 10 people gaining the accreditation in an average year.

Today, Dr Wong has acquired an excellent reputation for her highly sophisticated work and approachable, communicative manner. Her ambition is to be recognised as nothing less than the best orthodontist in London.