Whether it’s riding a bike, a skateboard, colliding with a friend in P.E., or any number of activities, dental emergencies are bound to happen. It’s not fun and can often be scary but we are here to help you to know what to do and to ease your mind if your child happens to have an emergency. There are a number of dental emergencies that can arise so let’s go over a few and what to do if it happens to your child.
If your child happens to get a permanent tooth knocked out, the number one thing to do is find the tooth if at all possible. If you’re able to find the tooth, make sure to handle it by the chewing surface and not the root. Try to get the tooth back into the socket and have your child bite down firmly on a clean cloth and stay biting. The good news is that a tooth that is quickly reimplanted has a good chance of being saved. If for some reason you’re not able to reinsert the tooth into the socket, please call us IMMEDIATELY so we can try and save the tooth. If this happens, please put the tooth in a cup of cold milk (NOT tap water!) and bring it in with you to the office. We will do everything we can to help save the tooth and this will likely include placing a splint on this tooth and the adjacent teeth to hold it in place for a few weeks, possibly longer.
In contrast with a permanent tooth, if a baby tooth happens to get knocked out, there’s no need to try and re-insert it and it’s actually best you don’t. Most often, there won’t be any treatment needed, just monitoring the eruption of the permanent tooth.
In a less severe case (but still scary nonetheless!), a tooth may not get completely knocked out but may instead break. If this happens, make sure to clean the area with warm water and place a cold compress on the face over the injured area. If you are able to find the broken tooth fragments, save them and call us immediately so we can help you with the next steps. Unfortunately, the two front top teeth are very common victims of injuries like this since they are some of the first permanent teeth in the mouth and are commonly injured.
A very common dental emergency is a cut or bitten lip, tongue or cheek. While this is common, it can still be scary due to the amount of bleeding that can come from the mouth. The first step is to clean the areas with a clean, wet cloth. If the wound is bleeding, use gentle but firm pressure with the clean cloth for 15 minutes. If after this time the bleeding persists and doesn’t seem to be controlled at all with pressure, please call us or the doctor for your child to be seen. It is also advisable to use ice on any swollen or bruised areas.
Another somewhat common dental emergency is a toothache or dental abscess. If there is an abscess, it will appear as a very red area on the gums around a tooth. Usually, there will be a “pimple” looking bump above/below the tooth on the gum tissue. Sometimes this pimple can fluctuate, but this doesn’t mean the abscess is healing. Once a tooth has abscessed, it will need to be treated in some way, usually with an extraction. This is especially true if the tooth is a baby tooth, extractions are recommended when a baby tooth abscesses.
One of the more extreme injuries that can happen is a broken jaw. If this happens your kiddo’s jaw line may appear distorted. The most important thing to do is to make sure your child can breathe. If there is difficulty breathing, call 911 right away. If they are able to breathe normally, keep you child calm and as still as possible and call us immediately.
We hope that you never have to call us for any of these emergencies but we know that things happen. Hopefully this article helps you to feel more at ease if something were to happen to your kiddo. Just know we are always here to help and to answer any questions! Just give us a call!