(804) 741-2226


(804) 740-7281


(804) 741-2226


(804) 740-7281

Dental Emergencies Part 1: Severe Toothache and Infection


This is part 1 in a 4-part series during National Children’s Dental Health Month. Check back each Monday in February for more information on what to do with chipped and broken teeth, knocked-out teeth, and wounds on lips and tongues.

Dental emergencies are very common in children and adolescents. Just like any first aid situation, knowledge, planning, and preparation are key to minimizing pain, discomfort and long-term damage. The most important way to prepare is to find a pediatric dentist for your child for regular check-ups.

After establishing a relationship with your child’s dentist, you will have someone to call during the day and after hours when the need arises. Keep your pediatric dentist’s phone number with other emergency numbers such as the pediatrician, fire, and police departments.

The following instructions are to serve as a planning tool – it is still very important to call your dentist immediately for definitive instructions on how to handle a dental emergency. If the situation is life-threatening, call 911 or visit the ER first!

Part 1: The Severe Tooth Infection and Toothache

If your child is complaining of a toothache, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to clean it out. Use a toothbrush and floss to remove all food/debris that might be caught inside or around the tooth to help prevent further infection.

Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth. This could burn your child’s gums.

It is important for your your child’s dentist to examine your child to determine the cause of the toothache. They may recommend over-the-counter painkillers, or an antibiotic depending on the extent of the infection.

Don’t rely on pain killers and antibiotics as the ultimate cure. They may temporarily relieve pain, but your dentist will need to evaluate and treat the cause of the infection for it to definitively disappear.

(CC Photo Credit: redbettyblack on Flickr)

Related Articles

Request Appointment

Please send us your contact information and select an ideal appointment date. We will contact you to confirm an appointment (typically within 24 hours).

If your child is experiencing an emergency, please call us.

Pediatric Dentistry (804) 741-2226 • Orthodontics (804) 740-7281

"*" indicates required fields

Patient Name*
Patient Date of Birth*
Parent / Guardian Name*
Patient Status*
Visit Type*
Preferred Office Location
MM slash DD slash YYYY
Select an ideal date for your appointment. Availability is not guaranteed.
Please list your Dental Insurance Provider, Group ID and Member ID. Please note if you do not have Dental Insurance coverage.