If your child faces a dental emergency, give our office a call immediately. After office hours our answering machine will tell you how to reach your doctor. If you need urgent treatment after hours, you can always call 911. 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
If your child has a bitten lip or tongue severe 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.
Object Caught In Teeth
If your child has something caught between his or her 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 a tooth, rinse his or her mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call us immediately.
If your child's permanent tooth has been knocked out, 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). If you are able to, orient the tooth and place it back into the socket in the mouth as soon as possible. If you are unable to do so, place the tooth in a clean container with milk and call us immediately. If you act quickly it's possible to save the tooth. If a primary/baby tooth is knocked out, do not replace the tooth back in the mouth. Call our office and make an appointment for us to evaluate the child and make sure the injury is healing properly.
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled. Using a bit of baby teething gel to numb the gum around the loose tooth and a small piece of gauze or paper towel to hold onto the tooth may help.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his or her mouth with warm water and inspect the 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. Contact the doctor as directed on the office answering machine if the toothache occurs after office hours.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Call our office number and/or head to an oral surgeon or 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. Don't let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. Always use car seats for young children and require seatbelts for older children. And if your child plays contact sports, have him or her 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.