The first thing to remember when your child has a dental emergency (or any emergency) is to stay calm. Injuries to the mouth, face and teeth happen frequently in children. Remaining calm and taking prompt action will help minimize the damaging effects of the injury and lessen your child’s discomfort. Second, assess whether or not your child’s injury involved hitting the head causing them to lose consciousness even for a brief moment. If this is the case, your child should seek immediate medical attention. Worry about the mouth and teeth later. Third, try to stop any bleeding with a clean washcloth or gauze. As you do this, check for broken and/or missing teeth. If there are missing teeth, look for them.
Broken Tooth: Gently clean or rinse dirt from the area around the break. Place a cold compress on the face in the area of the broken tooth to minimize lip or facial swelling. If the fracture is more than one-half of the tooth, come see us immediately. If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to our office.
Knocked Out Tooth:
- For Permanent Teeth – If possible, find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, not by the root. If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it in cold water but DO NOT scrub or handle the root unnecessarily. Try to replace the tooth into the socket. Have the child hold the tooth in place by closing on a gauze pad or washcloth. If it is not possible to replace the tooth, place it in a cup of milk, or if this is not available, the patient’s saliva. Come to our office IMMEDIATELY. Time is important for saving the tooth, less than 30 minutes is the best.
- For Primary (baby) Teeth – Teeth are not re-implanted. The tooth fairy will just have to be at work earlier than scheduled. Control any bleeding by applying pressure with the gauze pad or clean washcloth. Call our office and schedule an exam as soon as possible. It is important to evaluate the health of the surrounding teeth and gums.
Loose Tooth: If your child’s permanent or primary tooth becomes loose as a result of trauma, first check to see if there is any bleeding. Stop the bleeding by applying pressure using a gauze pad or clean washcloth. Dental trauma resulting in loose teeth requires immediate attention by the dentist.
Toothaches: Clean the area around the tooth. Rinse with warm salt water and use dental floss to remove any trapped food between the teeth. Do NOT place aspirin or heat on the gums or tooth. This will cause a burn to the gum tissue. If there is swelling, seek emergency medical attention. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: If there is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or gauze. Apply a cold compress to the injured area. If the bleeding does not stop, go to a hospital emergency room.
Possible Broken Jaw: Do not move the jaw. Stabilize by typing a towel over the top of the head. Apply cold compress. Go to an oral surgeon or hospital emergency room immediately.
Bleeding After the Baby Tooth Falls Out: Fold a gauze pad or clean washcloth over the bleeding area. Keep it in place for 15 minutes and repeat as necessary.
Cold or Canker Sores: Some children will get these periodically. Placing vitamin E oil over the area or other over the counter medications will usually give relief. If they persist or are extreme, see the dentist.
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