Handling A Child's Dental Emergency
Being prepared for a child’s dental emergency is important since the things you do before bringing your child into the office can help improve the prognosis and success of the treatment that’s rendered by the Dentist.
It is normal to feel distraught or panicked during any emergency; but it will help your child tremendously when they are receiving medical or dental care, if you are able to keep yourself calm and level-headed. Children copy the actions of the adults and your child is much more likely to cooperate, remain calm and assist in the management of their emergency if you are modeling that behavior as well.
During normal business hours, you can call our office and we will always do our best to squeeze emergencies into our schedule. When the office is closed, you can still call the office and our answering machine will have the contact information for the Dentist on call.
Baby Tooth: A trip to the dentist is required if anything happens to a child that results in the accidental loss of one of their primary or baby teeth. If a baby tooth is completely out, do not try and place the tooth back into the socket. Replanting a baby tooth has not proven effective and could potentially result in issues with the permanent tooth which is waiting to take the place of that primary tooth. Even though there isn’t anything that can be done to save that baby tooth, the child should still be evaluated to assess the neighboring teeth, jaws, and incoming permanent teeth.
Adult/Permanent Tooth: A permanent or adult tooth should be implanted back in the mouth as soon as possible. Hold the tooth by the crown (not the root) and if it is dirty, rinse the root with water only. Do not scrub or remove any attached tissue. You’ll want to gently insert the tooth in its socket and steady or hold the tooth with a clean gauze or washcloth.
If you are not able to replant the tooth, or if the child cannot safely hold the tooth in their mouth, put the tooth in a container of milk, saliva, or water and bring your child to the dentist as quickly as possible (along with the tooth and any fragments that may have fractured off).
Rinse the mouth with warm water and keep the area clean. You can place cold compresses (an ice bag or ice wrapped inside a washcloth) on the face to minimize swelling. Bring your child to the dentist right away to assess and treat the broken tooth.
BITTEN TONGUE OR LIP
Clean the area gently with a cloth and place cold compresses on the area to keep the swelling down. If you are not able to stop or control the bleeding after a short period of time, take your child to the dentist or an urgent care/emergency center.
OBJECTS CAUGHT BETWEEN TEETH
Gently try and remove the object with dental floss. If that does not remove the object, bring your child to the dentist. Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.
Gently brush and clean the area and make sure nothing is impinging on the gum tissues. Give your child what you normally give them for pain management. Do not place an aspirin on top of the aching tooth, as the acidity of the medicine can further irritate the surrounding gum tissues. Bring your child to the dentist to have the area evaluated.
POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW
Apply cold compresses to control any swelling. Take your child to an emergency room to have the neck and spine evaluated, and from there you will probably be referred to an Oral Surgeon or dentist for further evaluation.
IF YOU ARE TRAVELING
Find the nearest Dentist near you or look up www.ada.org on the internet and click on “Find a Dentist” to locate a nearby ADA member dentist. You may also ask the local hospital, urgent care facility or hotel front desk for a referral.