Springdale Mason Pediatrics



  • Pain or discomfort in a tooth

Call or Return If

  • Toothache lasts more than 24 hours
  • The toothache gets worse
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Note: If your child has a dentist, call them instead of your doctor


About This Topic


  • Main cause: tooth decay
  • Food wedged between the teeth
  • Injured tooth

Tooth Abscess and Severe Pain

  • A tooth abscess is an infection within and around the tooth. It can cause severe pain not helped by normal pain medicines.
  • Root canal therapy is needed to cure this problem. Root canals are done by a special dentist called an endodontist. Your child's regular dentist can refer you to one.
  • In the meantime, call your dentist's office. The pain can usually be brought under control with an antibiotic drug by mouth. Most often, this is penicillin.

After Care Advice

  • Most toothaches don't last too long. They are due to a sensitive tooth.
  • If the pain becomes worse or doesn't go away, call your dentist. The pain could be due to a small cavity.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
  • Floss on either side of the painful tooth to remove any wedged food.
Pain Medicine:
  • To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed.
Cold Pack:
  • Put a cold pack or ice in a wet washcloth on the painful jaw. Do this for 20 minutes.
Antibiotic by Mouth:
  • An antibiotic may be prescribed if a tooth abscess is suspected.
  • This medicine will kill the bacteria deep in the tooth.
  • Give the antibiotic as directed.
  • Try not to forget any of the doses.
What to Expect:
  • Most minor causes of toothache go away in less than a day.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2021 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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