Children’s Dental Emergencies

It can be traumatic when a child experiences a dental emergency such as a toothache, fracture, chip or other unexpected issues. With dental emergencies, it is important to act quickly, know what to do, and also be aware of who to contact.

This article will review some of the most common dental emergencies and how to respond to each issue. Taking prompt action can help avoid more expensive treatments and long-term damage.

Cuts of the Lip, Tongue, or Cheek

It is pretty easy to accidentally bite down on the tongue, lip, or cheek while chewing. While this type of injury is typically minor, it can be quite painful and result in some bleeding. As with any accident, it is important to remain calm.

Immediately following the injury, patients should gently clean the area with water. Next, a cold compress should be applied to the area to aid in minimizing and reducing any swelling. In cases where there is bleeding, gentle pressure should be applied with a clean piece of cloth or gauze. Pressure alone may not be sufficient to control the swelling in some cases. If the cut is severe or the bleeding will not stop, follow up with your pediatric dentist to schedule an emergency visit.

Baby Tooth Accident

When a baby or primary tooth is knocked-out, it is not usually considered to be an emergency. It is still advised to reach out to your pediatric dentist. While there is no need to keep the tooth moist as one would if a permanent tooth was knocked out, the tooth should be saved it taken to the dentist.

Permanent Tooth Accident

If the child’s permanent teeth have erupted and one or more is accidentally knocked out, this is a dental emergency and should be taken seriously. It is important to act quickly to preserve the tooth.

First, examine the child to ensure there are no more injuries. A knocked-out tooth may occur when the child has experienced head trauma. If the child is unconscious or there are serious concerns, call 911 right away.

If the tooth is located, hold it at the crown and avoid touching the root. It is critical for the tooth to remain moist. If the tooth can be positioned back into the socket in the mouth, and if the child is old enough, have bite down on a piece of gauze to hold it in place.

If the tooth cannot be placed back into the socket, it still must be kept moist. Avoid submerging it in water and opt to place it in a small container of milk or a saline solution. Another solution is to have the child hold the tooth in their mouth against their cheek. Follow up with the dentist immediately to ensure the best possible outcome.

Jaw Break or Fracture

In the event of a potential jaw break or fracture, patients should be extremely cautious. A cold compress should be gently applied to aid in controlling the swelling. This can also help prevent jaw movement. Call the dentist immediately for an emergency visit.

Severe Head Trauma

In cases of a child experiencing a severe blow to their head, it is common that they will also experience dental trauma. The child should be taken to the nearest emergency room right away. When there is head trauma, more intensive treatment will be needed beyond what a pediatric dentist emergency care team can offer.

Pediatric Gingivitis