Pediatric Dental Emergencies
If you face a dental emergency, give us a call immediately. If you need urgent treatment after hours, you can call our emergency number. We are always here to assist when your child’s dental health is at risk. Below are tips on dealing with urgent dental situations. You may want to display this list on your refrigerator or store it near your emergency phone numbers for easy reference.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
If your child has bitten their lip or tongue severely enough to cause bleeding, clean the bite gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling. Give us a call to help determine how serious the bite is.
Primary (baby) teeth
If the tooth is displaced to the side, pushed back or pushed up, the tooth should not be re-positioned. Trying to move a baby tooth may cause damage to the developing permanent tooth. Baby teeth will often migrate back into their original position without intervention. A bumped tooth may be slightly wiggly, and will likely tighten up with time. A soft diet is recommended for 1-2 weeks.
Displaced/Dislodged: Call the dentist immediately if a totoh appears to be pushed out of the socket, to the side, up, back or down. The tooth may need to be repositioned and a flexible splint placed.
Knocked out: Call the dentist immediately, and if you are unable to reach the dentist care should be sought at the nearest emergency room. Place the tooth in Tooth Saver (if available), or place in room temerature milk.
Fractured/cracked: A fractured tooth my be sensitive, and should be protected by a restoration until it can be fully restored. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the tooth may not be able to be restored to its final shape immediately, and can be covered with a temporary restoration. A soft diet should be followed for 1-2 weeks.
Soft Tissue Lesions
- Maxillary Frenum: The tissue which connects the upper lip to the gums is often pronounced in young children (0-5 years). When a fall of trauma occurs to the face, the tissue can be torn or disconnected. It is a common trauma and the bleeding traditionally ceases within 10 minutes. Rinse the area with room temperature water and apply ice/cool compress as needed. A soft diet should be followed for 5-7 days.
- Ulcerated lesions: An aphtous ulcer is a common oral lesion that can be seen after a trauma occurs or spontaneously. The mimic a "canker sore" and are yellow/white in color with a vibrant red border. Pain/discomfort to the touch, as well as citic or acidic foods can exacerbate the lesion. Lesions heal naturally in 5-14 days.
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse their mouth with warm water and inspect the teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. If pain continues, use a cold compress to ease the pain. Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children’s pain relievers may be taken orally. Schedule an appointment immediately.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Call our emergency number and/or head to the hospital immediately. In many cases a broken jaw is the result of a blow to the head. Severe blows to the head can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
You can help your child avoid dental emergencies. Child-proof your house to avoid falls. Don't let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. Always use car seats for young children and require seat belts for older children. And if your child plays contact sports, have them wear a mouthguard. Ask us about creating a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child. Finally, prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.