Sure your child can tell you they have a toothache, but can they tell you why? Most likely, they aren’t sure what’s causing the pain and discomfort they’ve been experiencing.
While this experience is new to them, for some parents, it might be new to you as well. That’s why it’s important to understand the stages of tooth development and how they can cause toothaches.
Here is everything you need to know:
Managing the teething process (6 months – 2 years)
Most babies get their first tooth at 6 months. While this can certainly be a painful process, each individual experience is different. Some infants experience a high level of distress, excessive drooling, discomfort, swollen gums and irritability, while others show no signs at all.
It’s very common for baby teeth to emerge in pairs. Usually, the two front teeth on the bottom of the mouth will make their appearance first, followed by the two teeth directly above on the top.1
For relief, offer your baby any of the following: a cold or damp washcloth (to chew on), frozen snacks, or a teething ring.
General toothaches in children (2-5 years of age)
Toothaches can be stressful for children and parents because it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of the pain. When your child complains of any type of discomfort, it’s best to look inside their mouth and see if any problems can be identified first-hand.
Frequent causes of a toothache include: tooth decay, previously pulling or forcing a baby tooth to come out of the mouth, or chipping a tooth. 2
If your child experiences a fever or if the pain has not improved 2 hours after taking pain medication, call your dentist or doctor. 3
If your child hasn’t visited a dentist yet, it’s time to get them into the habit. Regular dental visits should start no later than three years of age; however, some dentists prefer to start seeing one-year-olds while others wait until a child’s baby teeth have erupted.
The eruption of adult teeth (6-12 years of age)
Your child’s adult teeth (or permanent teeth) will typically begin to emerge around their sixth birthday. This process can last until they are 12 years of age.
Similarly to the teething process experienced as a baby, the eruption of adult teeth can also be a painful experience – particularly with the eruptions of large molars4.
To relieve symptoms of pain during the teething process or when adult teeth emerge, try the following: massage sore gums by having your child chew on a frozen washcloth, using pain relieving medications such as Infants’ TYLENOL® Concentrated Drops, Children's TYLENOL® Liquid, or massage the gums by hand with your finger.