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Toothache? What to Do while Waiting for a Dental Appointment
  • Take a painkiller. Aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) will help to relieve minor pain.
  • Numb the area. Buy an over-the-counter tooth and gum numbing gel to help ease the throbbing for a few hours. These gels are applied directly to the affected area and usually work for several hours.
  • Apply a cold compress. Fill a food storage bag with ice, cover it with a thin cloth or paper towel, and apply it directly to the tooth or the cheek area just outside the tooth. The cold temperature will help ease the pain. Do not apply the ice directly to the tooth. This will increase the pain.
  • Clean your mouth thoroughly by flossing around the tooth, brushing the area, and using a rinse.
  • To help it along, make a rinse with warm water and a spoonful of sea salt. Repeat several times daily until the pain subsides.

  • How to Care For Your Child's Teeth

    A child's primary teeth, sometimes called "baby teeth," are as important as the permanent adult teeth.

    Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age six months and one year. Primary teeth help children chew and speak. Primary teeth hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are developing under the gums. The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday.

    A dental visit at an early age is a "well-baby checkup" for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can demonstrate how to clean the child's teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking.