Dental emergencies can happen at any time, anywhere. Children can require emergency dental care for numerous reasons.
Stay calm, regardless of the reason you need emergency care. Not only will this help you best assess the severity of the dental emergency, but it’ll also help your child stay calm.
Apply at-home first aid as necessary, then follow up with a trip to the dentist or emergency room (ER), as detailed below. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you believe the injury requires immediate professional medical attention.
If Your Child Has Knocked Out a Tooth
When a child knocks out a tooth, it usually (but not always) happens in a fall or accident. Before anything else, check for any related or more severe injuries. Be sure there’s no serious damage to the mouth, face, or neck. If the tooth was knocked out during a hit to the head, check for signs of a concussion. If you find a serious injury, call 911 for emergency care.
Permanent or adult teeth should be kept moist. You can do this by placing the tooth in a container and covering it with milk. If no milk is available, wrap the tooth in a clean, wet washcloth before placing it in a sealed container. Take this with you to the children’s dentist as soon as possible.
If your child has knocked out a primary (baby) tooth, it doesn’t need to be kept moist. However, if you can find the tooth, you’ll still want to take it with you to the dentist.
If Your Child’s Tooth Is Cracked
If your child’s tooth becomes cracked, rinse the mouth with warm water. If there is swelling, apply a cold compress to the face outside the cracked tooth. Then, call to make an emergency care appointment with your general dentist for children as soon as possible.
If Your Child Has Bitten Their Lip or Tongue
If your child has bitten their lip or tongue, minor cases can be treated at home by rinsing the area with warm water and applying a cold compress to reduce swelling. A minor issue would have slight bleeding or swelling.
In more severe cases, start by rinsing and applying a compress. Then, take them to the dentist or ER. If possible, apply gentle pressure to the area to help stop the bleeding while traveling to seek professional assistance.
If You Believe Your Child Broke Their Jaw
If you believe your child has broken their jaw, gently apply a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling. Immediately take your child to an emergency dentist or emergency room.
If swelling to the face or neck appears to be obstructing breathing, call 911. Stay calm and encourage your child to breathe through their nose until paramedics arrive. Remember, a combination of pain or panic from the injury could cause your child to hyperventilate.
Dental Emergencies Do Happen
Children’s dental emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. Use your best judgment and the information above to help your child get the appropriate professional treatment. If you are unsure of the steps to take, contact our office immediately.