Is your child currently experiencing a persistent toothache?
At Pediatric Smiles Dentistry, Dr. Francois and his friendly dental assistants know firsthand how cavities can interfere with your child’s daily routine.
While there are many ways to temporarily treat toothaches, the best course of action is finding a dental home which provides excellent preventative care and education for your child to help keep cavities and other oral health problems away.
Why Do Cavities Develop?
Cavities can be caused by plaque, a sticky, slimy substance made up of sugars that can cause our teeth to breakdown. Over time, a cavity can develop, which if not properly cared for by a pediatric dentist, can grow larger, causing increased pain and even infection.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Cavity?
The following are some signs and symptoms that might indicate that your child has a cavity:
- Bad Breath: If tooth decay is ignored, bacteria will proliferate, leading to bad breath.
- Bad Taste: If your child complains of a chronic bad taste, get their teeth checked out as it may be a sign that a cavity needs to be addressed.
- Tooth Pain: Tooth pain is sometimes associated with a cavity. The pain is usually evident if the cavity has been left untreated for a long period of time.
- Tooth Sensitivity: A sensitive tooth can mean a cavity. The tooth can be sensitive when your child drinks something hot or cold or during chewing but is fine otherwise.
- Dark Spots: When cavities have gone for long periods of time without treatment, they are usually visible to the eye. A cavity will appear as a dark spot on the infected tooth. If you notice discoloration, you should visit your dentist right away!
- Holes: Sometimes you can see a hole on top of the tooth.
- Pus: This is the most serious symptom of a cavity and indicates an abscess. In some instances, it can cause fevers, pain and even swollen glands and requires immediate attention. A dentist may want to get your child started on a round of antibiotics to help kill the bacteria causing the abscess.
If your child has any of these signs of a cavity, call our office as soon as possible. It’s also important to get regular exams and cleanings, practice good oral care habits, and reduce sugary foods and liquids. Prevention is vital to a healthy smile that will last a lifetime.
How to Temporarily Relieve a Toothache?
If you’re unable to see a pediatric dentist immediately, here are a few tips to help relieve a toothache:
- Have your child swish and rinse them out with warm water mixed with salt.
- Use a cold compress or ice pack on the outside of your child’s cheek to help numb the pain.
- Use Ibuprofen or Advil if appropriate for your child’s age.
- Schedule a pediatric dentist appointment as soon as possible.
How Do I Prevent Cavities?
Though cavities can be repaired, try to avoid them by taking care of your teeth. Here’s how:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after every meal or at least twice a day. The morning is an important time to brush. Building healthy dental habits early is important.
- Use a good toothpaste. Check out Dr. Francois’ blog on choosing the right toothpaste for your child.
- Brush up and down in a circular motion.
- Gently brush your gums as well to keep them healthy.
- Floss your teeth once a day to remove plaque and food that’s stuck between your teeth.
- Limit sweets and sugary drinks, like soda or juice. Enjoy healthy snacks for healthy teeth instead!
- See your dentist twice a year for regular checkups. We hope you’ll hear those two wonderful words: “No cavities!”
Ready to Find Your Dental Home?
At Pediatric Smiles, we offer complete comprehensive dental care services for infants, children, teens, and adolescents including examinations, teeth cleaning, x-rays, and more! For excellent long-term dental health, we recommend getting a checkup and your teeth cleaned every 6 months. This will help keep your child’s smile happy and healthy. Give Dr. Francois a call today to schedule your child’s appointment today!