5 Dental Emergencies in Children

As much as you try to protect your child and keep them safe, getting bumps and bruises from time to time is all part of being a kid. Sometimes, however, playtime can turn into an emergency situation quickly. If your child has a dental emergency, call us right away! We’ll schedule an appointment for you to come in as soon as possible. We’re always here for you because your child’s dental health shouldn’t be an extra source of stress. Of course, an emergency is still concerning, but knowing how to deal with it can help you deal with an emergency safely. Keep reading for information regarding how to deal with 5 dental emergencies in children. 

Bitten Cheek, Lip, or Tongue 

If your child bites their cheek, lip or tongue hard enough to cause significant bleeding, you should first see if you can stop the bleeding by using a cold compress. Then, clean the bite gently with water. If you are unable to stop the bleeding and the area starts to swell, give us a call so we can determine whether or not you need to come in and see us. 

Toothache

When your child complains about a toothache, it may not automatically mean there is an emergency. A minor irritation may be caused by a trapped piece of food, and the first step is to carefully brush and floss around the area. Next, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water. If they’re still feeling pain or discomfort, apply a cold compress and give them a children’s pain reliever. Don’t apply heat, as this could make the problem worse. This is only a temporary fix. Call our office to schedule an emergency appointment so we can determine the cause of the toothache and treat it. 

Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth

Broken or chipped teeth are only considered an emergency if it’s causing pain or significant sensitivity. You should still come in as soon as possible so we can fix the problem before it gets worse. If your child is in pain, call us immediately and we’ll schedule an emergency appointment. In the meantime, help your child rinse their mouth out with warm water followed by a cold compress to reduce swelling. If possible, find the tooth fragment and save it so that we can attempt to reattach it. 

A Permanent Tooth Has Been Knocked Out 

This is one of the more serious emergencies that your child may experience. It is a time-sensitive dental emergency. While this is a cosmetic problem, it can also cause the following, more serious problems. 

  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Shifting teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Wearing down of remaining teeth
  • Changes in their jaw joint

Obviously, these are serious concerns. They can only be avoided by taking action quickly. Additionally, if a tooth is knocked out by force, it may bleed significantly, so you should get that under control first. Apply direct pressure with a cold compress, or have your child bite down on a piece of gauze. Depending on how much pain your child is in, you can give then an appropriate dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever to make them more comfortable. 

Try your best to locate the tooth if possible. Gently rinse off any debris before trying to put it back in the socket. We recommend rinsing with milk because it has a similar pH balance to saliva. It’s very important that you only touch the tooth at the crown, avoiding any contact with the roots. It’s also acceptable to place the tooth in a cup of milk or wrap it in a cool, damp cloth. 

If the tooth is reimplanted within 30 minutes of being knocked out, it has the best chance of surviving. This means it’s important to immediately seek care from Busk Family Dentistry or the ER so it can be splinted quickly. We advise contacting us first if possible to avoid overloading the ER as they focus on treating COVID-19 patients. If we can splint the tooth, we’ll leave the thin plastic or metal in place for a few weeks so the ligaments around your child’s tooth can regrow correctly and attach the tooth to the bone. If, after a few weeks, the tooth hasn’t reattached correctly, we’ll provide an implant or bridge to fill the gap, so your child will still have a healthy smile. 

Fractured Face or Jaw 

Broken bones or in your child’s face and jaw are a serious emergency and should be treated as a medical and dental emergency. Any damage to the bones should be your first priority, as well as any brain injuries your child may have sustained since facial fractures are most commonly caused by a blow to the head. Apply a cold compress and go to the hospital immediately. If teeth have been knocked out, you can keep them in a glass of milk or wet cloth and take them with you. Once any immediate danger is passed, we can treat any oral damage. 

Child with mouthguard

Avoiding Injury 

While your child has more free time than usual and some excess energy to burn it’s worth a little extra effort to help then avoid dental emergencies. Steps you can take include: 

  • Don’t let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. 
  • Always use car seats for young children and seatbelts for older children. 
  • Child-proof your house to avoid falls. 
  • If your child plays contact sports, have them wear a mouthguard
  • Prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.

Busk Family Dentistry is here for you in any emergency

Dental emergencies are always scary, but knowing what to do makes it easier to handle the situation safely. If you or your child experiences a dental emergency always contact us immediately. Oftentimes, acting quickly is the best way to both fix the problem at hand and avoid more significant problems in the future. The team at Busk Family Dentistry is always there for you, no matter what happens.