Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Your child complains of a painful tooth. Sometimes it is
just a temporarily sensitive tooth, but usually it means
decay or a cavity is present. One complication of a
decaying tooth is a gumboil just below the gumline. The
infection in the tooth may also spread to the face (causing
a swollen cheek) or to the lymph node just under the
- Pain relief medicine
First treat the toothache with acetaminophen or
ibuprofen. If the pain lasts more than a day or becomes
severe, call your dentist. An ice cube on the tooth or
ice pack on the jaw for 20 minutes will also help.
- Oil of cloves for severe toothache
If you cannot see a dentist for several days and an open
cavity is visible, clean all food out of the cavity with
a toothpick, Water-Pik, or water in a syringe. Put in a
few drops of oil of cloves (80% eugenol). You won't
need a prescription to get oil of cloves. If the cavity
is large, pack it with a small piece of cotton soaked
with oil of cloves. Try to keep the oil of cloves off
the tongue because it stings. The cavity can also be
temporarily sealed with melted candle wax. Just rub it
in with your fingertip.
Remind your child to brush his teeth, especially the
back molars, after every meal. After the age of
3 years, when your child is old enough to use
toothpaste, be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste.
(Children younger than 3 tend to swallow the
toothpaste). If your city's water supply doesn't have
fluoride added to it, ask your physician for a
prescription for fluoride during your next routine
CALL YOUR CHILD'S DENTIST IMMEDIATELY IF:
- The pain is very severe.
- Your child has a fever (over 100 degrees F, or
37.8 degrees C).
- Your child's face is swollen.
- Your child is acting very sick.
CALL YOUR CHILD'S DENTIST DURING OFFICE HOURS IF:
- Your child has had the pain for more than a day.
- You have other concerns or questions.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems