How to Handle a Dental Emergency

Cartoon image of a white human tooth looking sad and depressed, eyes appear gloomy with melancholic stare, sorrowful frown on the mouth, tears falling, short black eyebrows slanting downward

How many times have you gone over what to do in case of a fire? But have you ever looked into and talked about what to do in case of a dental emergency? You may think that your child has a low risk of dental emergencies if he or she doesn’t play high contact sports, but accidents can happen anytime.

Read below to learn what to do in case of a dental emergency.

A toothache may not seem like an emergency but it can be a very uncomfortable, unknown feeling for a child. If your child is complaining of mouth pain, find the affected area and clean the tooth and gum surrounding it with a cool towel. Then rinse the child’s mouth with warm water. Check to see if there is any food lodged into the gums. If so, try to carefully remove with a toothpick or dental floss. If your child’s face is swollen, apply a cold compress. We do not suggest using topical gel but an appropriate dosage ibuprofen may be used for pain.

Cut tongue, cheek, or lip:
Apply pressure with gauze or a cloth to control bleeding, and ice to help with swelling. If bleeding cannot be controlled by pressure, visit your pediatric dentist or the hospital emergency room.

Chipped tooth:
If possible, try to save any broken tooth fragments. Please call your pediatric dentist to schedule treatment.

Baby tooth pushed out of place:
In most cases, no professional care is necessary and the child can be comforted by a rinse and a cold compress.

Permanent tooth pushed out of place:
First, rinse your child’s mouth with water and apply a cool compress to reduce swelling. Please contact your pediatric dentist right away.

Permanent tooth knocked out:
We refer to a knocked out tooth as an “avulsed” tooth. If you act quickly, there’s a good chance the tooth can be saved. First, find the tooth. It’s important to handle it by the crown (top), not by the root. Then, rinse gently with only water. Try to slip the tooth back into its socket and make sure it is facing the right way. In many cases, this will work but don’t try to force it. Call your pediatric dentist immediately.

Our best recommendation is to try your best to stay calm in any situation. Children will likely base their reactions on your behavior. A distraught child will only make the situation worse for everyone.

For any facial injury, please be sure to check the child’s head for injury too. If you notice that something is off, it’s best to bring your child to the emergency room.

If your child is old enough to understand, try to explain what to do in case a dental emergency arises when you are not around. This may be especially important for very active kids. The first step is to find a parent, teacher, or other responsible adult.

If you’re ever unsure of what to do, we advise you to call your pediatric dentist immediately. At Pediatric Dentistry of Glens Falls, we’re always available to talk to you about your concerns for your child’s dental well-being!