If you face a dental emergency, give us a call immediately. If you need urgent treatment after hours, you can call our emergency number. We are always here to assist when your child’s dental health is at risk. Below are tips on dealing with urgent dental situations. You may want to display this list on your refrigerator or store it near your emergency phone numbers for easy reference.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
After you child has received dental care, he or she will likely still feel numb for a short time. We do our best to help your child avoid bite injuries, but children can cause injury to their lip, cheeks, or tongue if they are not careful since they cannot feel it. If your child has bitten his lip or tongue severely enough to cause bleeding, clean the bite gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling. Give us a call to help determine how serious the bite is. Often these injuries do not require any special treatment other than additional time for healing.
Object Caught In Teeth
If your child has something caught between his teeth, use dental floss to gently remove it. Never use a metal, plastic, or sharp tool to remove a stuck object. If you are unable to remove the item with dental floss, give us a call.
Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of his tooth, have him rinse his mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call our office immediately. Depending on the severity of the tooth fracure, sometimes simply smoothing a rough edge can do the trick. Other times, largely broken teeth may require a more extensive repair such as a crown placement or a bonded build-up to restore the tooth's normal form and contour. In severe cases, some fractured teeth require extraction if the tooth in non-repairable.
Knocked Out Tooth
If your child’s tooth has been knocked out of his mouth, find the tooth and rinse it with water (no soap), taking care to only touch the crown of the tooth (the part you can see when it’s in place). Place the tooth in a clean container with milk. Call us immediately and/or head to the hospital. If you act quickly it's possible to save the tooth. Typically an adult tooth can be reimplantned if the conditions are favorable. In contrast, it is usually not recommended to reimplant baby teeth, as this can cause potential damage to underlying permanent teeth and has a much poorer prognosis.
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled. This can often times be simply done at home, but if you have difficulty, contact our office and we'd be happy to assist your child.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his mouth with warm water and inspect his teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. If pain continues, use a cold compress to ease the pain. Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children’s pain relievers may be taken orally. Schedule an appointment immediately.
If you notice any swelling or a bump along the gumline of a tooth, contact our office. This could be an indication of a tooth infection that needs attention. Additionally, any notable swelling to the lips, cheeks, jaw, or eye area is of particular concern. Some dental infections can be serious and spread to surrounding tissues. In severe cases, facial swelling can be life threatening, so contact our office immediately or head to your local hospital.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Call our emergency number and/or head to the hospital immediately. In many cases a broken jaw is the result of a blow to the head. Severe blows to the head can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
You can help your child avoid dental emergencies. Child-proof your house to avoid falls and cover electrical outlets. Don't let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. Always use car seats for young children and require seat belts for older children. And if your child plays contact sports, have him wear a mouthguard. Ask us about creating a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child. Finally, prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.