kid with toothache sitting in the car

Is there anything worse than seeing your child in pain? Unfortunately, accidents and unexpected things like toothaches happen. If your child has a toothache, it’s important to know what’s causing the toothache and how to find toothache relief. Your child can help you determine what’s causing the toothache by pointing out the source of the pain, but you’ll need to look for signs of trouble to figure out the underlying issue. 

Some symptoms to look for include: 

  • Red gums
  • Swelling
  • Tooth discoloration
  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • A loose tooth
  • Food lodged between teeth

In most cases, you’ll need the help of a professional to diagnose the underlying cause. If your child is experiencing a toothache, call Smiles Dentistry 4 Kids in Overland Park, KS today. Dr. Matt and our friendly team are here to help your little one get back to normal, pain-free living.

What’s causing my child’s toothache?  

Sometimes, the cause of a toothache is obvious. Has your child recently been hit in the face with a ball? Or fallen and chipped a tooth? Then you have your answer! Be sure to visit the dentist as soon as possible and take the proper steps to save the damaged tooth. 

Other not-so-obvious causes of toothaches include: 

  1. Tooth decay. Pain that persists for more than a day is likely caused by a cavity. Look for a yellow-brown mark on the back molars where cavities are the most common. 
  2. Dental abscess. If your child describes throbbing and severe pain, he or she may have a dental abscess. Look for a pimple-like bump on the gum line, but an abscess may not be visible at all. 
  3. Cracked enamel. A cracked tooth will be sensitive to hot and cold substances and is generally caused by biting on a hard object. Search all of your child’s teeth for a crack, but the crack may be below the gum line or not visible to the naked eye. 
  4. Gum disease. Red, swollen gums are one of the first symptoms of gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease). If your child’s gums are bleeding after brushing and flossing, gingivitis is likely to blame. In some cases, gingivitis will clear up on its own with consistent and thorough brushing and flossing. 
  5. Lodged food particles. Meat, popcorn, and other foods can lodge themselves between two teeth, causing pressure and pain throughout the mouth. Be sure to check your child’s teeth for remnants of food particles. Brush and floss their teeth to eliminate this possibility. 

How can I help my child find toothache relief? 

In many cases, a toothache only lasts about 24 hours. However, if your child has a cavity, it will like become a recurring issue. Here are a few ways to relieve your child’s toothache pain while you wait to visit a pediatric dentist: 

  • Floss. Remove any food particles that may be lodged between the teeth for immediate relief. 
  • Pain medicine. Over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and ibuprofen can relieve pain temporarily or permanently. 
  • Ice. Place a cold pack or ice in a washcloth on the outside of your child’s face where the pain is coming from. Leave it there for 20 minutes. 
  • Salt water. Combine a teaspoon of salt and a small cup of water. Show your little one how to swish it around for 30 seconds, then spit it out. 

Contact Our Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park

If your child is suffering from a toothache, please call our friendly dental team at (913) 685-9990  so we can determine the root cause and help your little one find permanent toothache relief as quickly as possible. 

Toddler smiling while brushing her teeth as part of her daily dental hygiene routine

In October, dental offices across the nation celebrate dental hygienists’ hard work. Pediatric dental hygienists provide preventative oral care and dental hygiene practices. They examine and clean young patients’ teeth under a dentist’s supervision. Additionally, they educate young patients about their developing mouths in kid-friendly language. 

Good dental hygiene must happen in and outside of the dentist’s chair. Here are the answers to five commonly asked questions regarding dental hygiene: 

1. How do I remove plaque from my children’s teeth?

Did you know that the mouth is full of bacteria? Helpful bacterias create balance in your mouth’s ecosystem. However, an imbalance of oral bacteria can destroy teeth and supporting tissues. When harmful oral bacteria lingers on the surface of teeth, plaque develops. After bacterial plaque hardens into tartar, it can only be removed by a dental hygienist. If a dental hygienist does not remove the tartar, cavities and gum disease are likely to develop. 

A dental hygiene routine with flossing and twice-daily brushing can help prevent plaque and tartar development. Daily brushing keeps the mouth healthy by removing food particles and bacteria. In addition, the brushing motion also stimulates the gums (which helps keep them healthy). Also, choosing toothpaste with fluoride is a simple practice that prevents cavities.

2. Do my kids really need to floss?

Even though some children and adults consider flossing a chore, flossing is an essential habit. Brushing alone cannot remove the plaque and food particles lodged between teeth and near the gumline. We recommend flossing at least once per day.

With any dental floss, be mindful to avoid gum injury:

  1. Gently insert the floss between two adjacent teeth using a rocking back and forth motion.
  2. Carefully bring the floss to the gumline (but do not force it under the gums).
  3. Curve floss around the edge of the tooth in the shape of the letter “C.” 
  4. Slide it up and down the side of each tooth.
  5. Repeat the process between all teeth.

3. What’s the correct way to teach my children how to brush their teeth?

Brushing teeth in the morning and before bed helps prevent plaque build-up. Here are some tips to help teach your children to brush their teeth effectively:

  1. Use a timer or favorite tune to time children for two to three minutes.
  2. Hold the brush at a righchildren’skid’sWhat’st angle (45 degrees) against the gumline.
  3. Gently brush all inside and outside surfaces of the teeth in short strokes. Scrub the chewing surfaces, making sure to clean the pits and crevices.
  4. Gently brush the tongue to remove harmful breath-causing bacteria.

4. How does sugar affect my kid’s dental hygiene?

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that children and adults reduce their sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. Sugar is a widely-known culprit of tooth decay because harmful oral bacteria thrive on high starch diets consisting of sugars and carbohydrates. When oral bacteria feast on sugar and carbohydrates, they create acids that can lead to bacterial infections. If left untreated, oral bacterial infection can turn into cavities.

An often overlooked component of maintaining good oral hygiene is cutting down on sugary, high-carbohydrate foods. This dietary change can decrease the likelihood of children developing cavities.

5. How often should my children visit the dentist for a dental hygiene visit?

Dental professionals encourage people of all ages to visit every six months. Consistent visits to the dental clinic can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, other oral health disorders. Our dental hygienists work diligently and patiently to keep your children’s teeth healthy by:

  • Removing cavity and gum-disease causing bacteria, plaque, and tartar
  • Cleaning and smoothing the surface of the teeth
  • Educating children to care for their teeth

Schedule a dental cleaning in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online today.

close up of toddler holding bottle

Oral health is a factor that all parents must consider from the time that their little one is born. Yes, even before his or her teeth have erupted!

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (aka Early Childhood Caries) mainly affects the upper front teeth but can have rippling effects throughout the mouth. Sugary drinks and milk turn into acid in the mouth when they encounter bacteria. This acid attacks the dental enamel and creates a cavity. If these drinks are paired with a meal, cavities are less likely. However, when children take a nap or go to bed for the night with a bottle in their mouths, Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is likely to occur.

Symptoms of Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in babies and toddlers can be especially difficult to detect. Presumably, your little one won’t be able to express in words what is wrong with his teeth. Here are a few symptoms of early childhood caries to look for:  

  • White spots on the teeth
  • Light brown spots on the teeth
  • Brown or black spots on the teeth
  • Pain around the tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks and sweet foods

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a pediatric dentist near you as soon as possible.

How A Kid’s Dentist Treats Tooth Decay

When cavities first develop, and a baby has small white spots on her teeth, fluoride treatments may be able to reverse the decay by helping rebuild the dental enamel.

Darker spots on the teeth indicate more developed cavities that may require restorative treatments, such as fillings or dental crowns. Pediatric dentists make these procedures as comfortable and quick as possible. These are common dental treatments and should never be a source of anxiety for you or your little one!

Prepare your child for a dental crown with these helpful tips.

How To Prevent Early Childhood Caries

Prevention is always the best policy. There are several steps you can take to stop the development of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay in your child:

  1. Clean your child’s gums with a soft, damp cloth after a feeding.
  2. Don’t share eating utensils or straws that can transfer bacteria.
  3. After the teeth erupt, gently brush them twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a smudge of fluoride toothpaste.
  4. When two teeth erupt next to each other, floss between them daily.
  5. Avoid sending your little one to bed with a bottle in his mouth.
  6. Reduce the amount of juice and soft drinks your child drinks.
  7. Do not dip pacifiers in sugar or honey.
  8. Provide healthy, mouth-friendly meals and snacks.

Finally, be sure to schedule your child’s first dental visit by her first birthday or by the time her first tooth erupts (whichever comes first). These appointments give a pediatric dentist the chance to catch tooth decay in its earliest stages and offer tips for how to prevent more from developing.

During your child’s first visit, the dentist will mainly focus on reviewing you and your child’s dental and medical histories and evaluating his smile for oral health issues or developmental concerns.

When necessary, a dental assistant can clean and polish your little one’s teeth.

Call Smiles Dentistry for Kids Today

Our team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids is dedicated to reducing childhood tooth decay by offering high-quality, individualized oral health care in a comfortable environment. to schedule your child’s first visit with Dr. Matt, contact our Overland Park dental practice today at (913) 685-9990.

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