What do I do if my child has a toothache?

No parent wants to see their child in pain. When a child complains of mouth pain, the cause is sometimes unrelated to their teeth, like in the case of a sinus infection. Oftentimes, however, teeth are indeed the culprit. A quick look inside the mouth can sometimes help identify the cause, such as a new tooth sprouting or a stuck piece of food. As Seattle Children’s Hospital explains, however, the problem occasionally warrants further evaluation by a dentist. So how do you know for sure whether the issue is serious enough for a visit to the dentist? We’ve provided a few tips to help you identify the problem, ease your child’s pain, and help them get the care they need. 

Try to locate the site of the toothache.

If your child is old enough, ask them to point to the location of the pain. Look inside for red or swollen gums, tooth discoloration, broken teeth. If you see swelling or a “pimple” around the tooth, this could be a sign of a dental abscess and warrants seeing a dentist as soon as possible. If the child has pain only when they bite down with a specific tooth, this could indicate a cavity.

Rinse and floss your child’s teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rinsing your child’s mouth with warm water and flossing to remove any food particles trapped between their teeth. If you haven’t identified a clear cause after looking around, it’s possible that removing a stuck food particle will resolve the problem. Remember to be gentle while flossing because your child’s gums might be sensitive. Colgate.com also suggests rinsing with salt water because of its abilities to inhibit harmful bacteria and ease discomfort.

Apply a cold compress for pain.

A cold compress slows blood flow to the affected area and may help ease discomfort and swelling. If you do not have a store-bought compress, you can make one by wrapping ice in a small towel or cloth. Try icing for 15 minutes and taking another 15 minutes off.

Use pain medication. 

If the pain persists, you can try giving your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen while you are waiting to be seen by a provider. Remember to make sure that any medicine is safe: carefully read the instructions to find the correct dosage for your child’s age. 

Make an appointment.

While the cause of your child’s toothaches may be as simple as a new tooth sprouting or a food particle that is easily removed with flossing, sometimes the problem is more serious. If your child has swelling, redness or a suspected cavity, it’s important to see a pediatric dental specialist as soon as possible. When in doubt, always contact us, particularly if the toothache persists for over 24 hours. We’ll get your child smiling again!

What is a lip or tongue tie?

Tongue and lip ties occur when the string of soft tissue under the tongue or lip, called the frenum, is too tight, thick or short. Depending on the degree of the severity, infants and young children with a tongue or lip tie can experience a variety of symptoms, including trouble with feeding, speech and sleep. Keep reading to learn more about what tongue and lip ties are, signs to look for in your child, and when to consider seeking treatment. 

What are tongue and lip ties?

In the case of a tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, the frenum under the tongue, or the lingual frenum, is too tight, thick or short. This makes it more difficult to move the tongue.

A lip tie, on the other hand, happens when the labial frenum, the one that connects your lip to your mouth, is too tight, thick or short.  This makes it more difficult to move the lip.

What problems can occur with tongue and lip ties?

Tongue- and lip-tie symptoms can vary based on the degree of the severity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a tongue- or lip-tie may cause the following issues for babies, young children and moms.


  • Poor latch during nursing
  • Poor weight gain
  • Frequent hunger
  • A clicking sound while feeding

Young Child

  • Speech impairments
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Problems sticking tongue out
  • Difficulty playing wind instruments


  • Pain while nursing
  • Sore cracked nipples 
  • Insufficient milk supply

Can a tongue and lip tie be repaired?

Yes! Releasing a tongue or lip tie is a relatively simple procedure that we can do right here in our practice with minimal discomfort or risk of complications. If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn more about the procedure, please contact us today.

Recognize World Autism Month in April

April is an opportunity to recognize World Autism Month. Kicking off with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, the purpose of World Autism Month is to increase both understanding and inclusion of autism in our communities and around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, autism affects approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States each year. While the cause of autism is unclear, it is likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

Symptoms of Autism

Autism spectrum disorders are marked by a wide range of behavioral and communication symptoms.These can include:

  • Difficulty with verbal communication.
  • Difficulty with nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, tone of voice and facial expressions. 
  • Trouble expressing emotions or understanding emotions in others. 
  • Repetitive behaviors, like rocking or repeatedly touching objects.
  • Strong need for routine. 
  • Sensitivities to light, touch, sound, smell or other sensory stimuli.

In addition, many children with autism are hard working, sociable, honest, respectful, and kind.

Visiting the Dentist

Visits to the dentist can often be challenging for children with autism, but our goal is to make it as positive and comfortable an experience as possible. With years of advanced training, our pediatric specialists are able to adapt to the needs of every child we meet, including those who need that extra level of care. Our goal is to create a relaxing atmosphere where we can instill positive associations with visiting the dentist and reduce feelings of anxiety. In cases where an additional level of relaxation would be helpful to the child, our specialists are also qualified to perform sedation in the office and/or hospital.

We welcome children with autism and other special needs to our practice! If you are a parent of a child with autism and have any questions for our team, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Celebrate National Dentist’s Day this Saturday!

Saturday, March 6 is National Dentist’s Day! Celebrated annually, National Dentist’s Day is an opportunity to show appreciation for the dentists and dental specialists who keep our mouths healthy, including general dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons and prosthodontists. As part of our celebration, we’ve combed history to recognize a few of the very first dentists and dental specialists.

First Dentist of Ancient History

The first recorded dentist, Hesy-Ra, lived and worked in Ancient Egypt around 2600 BC. He was known as the “Chief of Dentists” and was a person of high distinction under the pharaoh. According to New World Encyclopedia, the inscription on Hesy-Ra’s tomb reads, “The greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”

First Women Dentists 

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? Women have played a vital role in dentistry. Emeline Roberts Jones was the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. Since women were not allowed to enter dental school at the time, Jones secretly provided dental services until her husband allowed her to join his dental practice in 1855. Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first woman to actually graduate from a dental school, earning her degree from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in 1866.

First Pediatric Dentist

Another noteworthy woman in dental history is M. Evangeline Jordon, the first dentist to specialize in pediatric patients. Jordon began her career as a teacher and worked summers as a dental assistant, but eventually devoted herself to dentistry full-time, limiting her practice entirely to children in 1909. Jordon aimed to find methods for reducing children’s fear of going to the dentist. She also wrote and lectured on the importance of proper oral hygiene habits for kids.

First Orthodontists

While there is evidence that orthodontics has been around since ancient times, two French dentists are credited with progressing the field to where it is today. Pierre Fauchard developed a device called the “blandeau” in 1728, which helped to expand the mouth arch. Later, Louis Bourdet, who was dentist to the King of France, perfected the blandeau and was the first dentist to recommend extracting premolar teeth to ease crowding and to improve jaw growth. A century later, American Edward Hartley Angle developed the first classification system of malocclusion and the first school of orthodontia, establishing orthodontics as a specialty distinct from general dentistry.

First Oral Surgeon

Simon P. Hullihen is regarded as the “father” of oral surgery. Graduating as a medical doctor, he specialized in treating problems of the mouth and head, performing over 1,100 operations using instruments he invented himself.

First Prosthodontist

The practice of prosthodontics goes back to ancient times, when ancient Egyptians used gold wire to stabilize and replace missing teeth. However, the birth of modern implantology is often credited to Italian Manilo Formiggini, who developed a spiral stainless steel implant that allowed bone to grow onto the metal.

This National Dentist’s Day, give thanks to dentists for the important work they do to help keep our mouths healthy. If it’s time for your check-up, be sure to contact us.

Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month!

The American Dental Association (ADA) designates every February as Children’s Dental Health Month. The observance helps to promote children’s oral health for caregivers, teachers, and others who work with kids.

This year’s theme is “Water: Nature’s Drink.” The theme highlights the importance of drinking water over sugary beverages to keep teeth healthy. On their MouthHealthy.org website, the ADA explains that water, particularly water with fluoride, can strengthen teeth and help to prevent tooth decay. In addition, water is a low-calorie drink that keeps your mouth clean and fights dry mouth. The necessity of this year’s theme is evidenced by a study conducted by JAMA Pediatrics, in which 20% of 8,400 children observed reported not drinking any water. Those children typically consumed almost twice as many calories and more sugary beverages like soda and fruit drinks.

Promoting Oral Health in Children

In addition to drinking water, MouthHealthy.org provides a number of tips for helping to foster healthy teeth and gums from a young age. These include:

  • Keeping an infant’s mouth clean before teeth erupt by wiping his or her gums with a soft, clean washcloth or gauze pad.
  • Brushing newly erupted teeth twice a day with a rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Increasing to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste after age three.
  • Visiting the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts, and no later than age one. 
  • Avoiding dipping pacifiers in honey or sugar, or putting them in your mouth to clean them.

Additional Resources

The ADA provides several resources in celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, including crossword puzzles, coloring pages and other activities. A printable reference guide is also available with 5 tips for avoiding tooth decay. 

The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides a number of resources for oral health. These include healthy recipes, oral hygiene tips, and books about oral health.

If you’d like to discuss your child’s oral health or are ready to make an appointment, contact us today. We’d love to see your child’s smile!

What does the COVID-19 vaccine mean for your child’s dental care?

The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program is rolling out across the country. As recommended by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, phase 1a of the program prioritizes healthcare workers, including dental teams. Vaccine administration is being managed at the state level, creating some variation among states, but it is encouraging to see this important step underway!

How are dental providers being prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccination program? 

The ADA provides a helpful state-by-state map where you can see how dental providers are being prioritized in the vaccine program. In the vast majority of states, dentists are listed as part of phase 1a, while a few states have them in phase 1b, and others have yet to determine their priority level. States also vary on whether or not a dental provider can administer the vaccine to others at this time.

Will KidzSmile Dentistry providers receive the COVID-19 vaccination?

In accordance with state prioritization guidelines, many of our dentists and team members have already received their first COVID-19 vaccination. Not only will vaccinations keep our team members safe, but they will ensure that patients who come into our practices remain safe as well. We’ll continue to provide more information to our patients and their families as we have it. 

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine explains that, while the vaccine was developed at a faster rate than many vaccines in the past, it does not mean that any safety measures were skipped during the process. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines underwent appropriate clinical trials and were closely monitored for side effects. At this time, both vaccines are showing 95% effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Is it safe for my child to visit the dentist if they are not vaccinated?

Because delaying dental care could potentially lead to more severe — and costly — problems down the road, it is vital to continue with routine exams and complete any recommended treatment during the pandemic. As each of us awaits our turn to be vaccinated, you can rest assured that your child’s dental office is as safe as ever. We will continue to implement extra safety measures, as recommended by the ADA and CDC, in addition to the infection control procedures we have always followed. Our highest priority is the well-being of each person that walks through our doors. If you have any questions or concerns about our safety protocols, feel free to give us a call. We’d love to hear from you!

What do I do if my child has a toothache?

No parent wants to see their child in pain. When a child complains of mouth pain, the cause is sometimes unrelated to their teeth, like in the case of a sinus infection. Oftentimes, however, teeth are indeed the culprit. A quick look inside the mouth can sometimes help identify the cause, such as a new […]

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