Pediatric Dental Emergencies
There are many possible causes of a toothache. Some are as simple as food caught in the gums along the tooth, and others are less benign. For starters, clean the area of the affected tooth. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with luke-warm water or use dental floss to dislodge any food that may be impacted. If the pain still exists, contact your child's dentist. Do not place aspirin or heat on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen, apply cold compresses and contact your dentist immediately.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek
Apply ice to injured areas to help control swelling. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure, call us immediately. In severe cases, visit the hospital emergency room.
If the tooth has been knocked out of its usual position, please contact us for an evaluation as soon as possible. For permanent teeth, we will likely need to reposition and stabilize the tooth with a “splint.” For baby teeth, severely displaced or loosened teeth will need to be removed.
Knocked Out Adult Tooth
If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown (the part of the tooth you usually see in the mouth), not by the root. You may rinse the tooth with water only. DO NOT clean with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily. After rinsing as needed, try to put it back into the socket. Have your child hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze or clean cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup containing milk or the patient’s saliva, NOT water. The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Every minute saved is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth
Unlike with a permanent tooth, the baby tooth should not be replanted due to possible damage to the developing permanent tooth. In most cases, no treatment is necessary. However, please call us to set up an evaluation appointment to make sure no other less-obvious injuries in the mouth have occurred.
Chipped/Fractured Permanent Tooth
Check to see if there is a different color on the tooth in the area of the chip. A red or purple area at the center means the nerve may be exposed. If this is the case or if you are unsure, you should contact us for an appointment as soon as possible. If you can find the broken tooth piece, bring it with you to your dental appointment. For smaller chips on the very edge of the tooth, this is not an emergency, but we are happy to take a look and repair the area if needed!
Severe Blow to the Head
Call 911 immediately or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw
Keep the jaw from moving and take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Read more about how to prevent dental emergencies during recreational activities and sports with mouth guards.