It can be hard to know what a “dental emergency” really is. Sports impact with no mouthguard, infections, biting down on things harder than teeth (popcorn kernels, hard candy), chewing ice, and using teeth as tools are some common causes of unexpected dental problems. Just as in any medical emergency, swift professional care is required. For emergencies during regular office hours, please call us—we’re here to help!
Dental Emergency: Is This It?
There are several signs to watch for if your child went through a jaw or mouth trauma impacting the teeth and gums. If your child is in obvious pain and exhibits one or more of these symptoms, reach out to us for emergency treatment immediately.
- Broken or knocked-out tooth
- Discolored gums and/or teeth
- Visible swelling
- Signs of infection
What Should I Do?
The most important thing is also the hardest: try to remain calm. Emergencies happen to every child at some point while growing up, and no parent is present everywhere at all times. We know keeping your child calm can be even more challenging than staying calm yourself—but reassure your child that our expert dentist will help them feel better as soon as possible.
- Try avoiding aspirin and at-home pain-relieving remedies in general. Aspirin dilutes the blood and can exacerbate toothaches, while other topical medicines can prove toxic to kids if ingested.
- Children’s Motrin (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a safer pain relief solution to soothe the pain as long as it is taken orally—not applied topically.
- Rinsing with warm water is almost always a good idea. (See helpful tips below!)
A Few Helpful Tips
Judge yourself and decide whether to admit the child to the hospital or call our dentist first. Of course, we’re always available and you can reach us over the phone whether at home or the hospital. In any case, call as soon as possible to keep us in the loop. Again, try your best to remain calm. Take an extra deep breath or two!
- Toothache/Bitten Lip or Tongue: Apply a cold compress and rinse your mouth with warm water. If you see persistent bleeding or discoloration, call us immediately.
- Object Stuck in Mouth: Gently remove the object with floss—never use anything sharp or pointed. If you can’t remove the object, wait for our experts.
- Broken/Chipped/Fractured Tooth: Gargle your mouth with lukewarm water and apply a cold compress. Secure tooth pieces in a moist towel and bring them to our dentist immediately.
- Knocked-Out Tooth: Keep the tooth wet and try to keep it in the mouth. If this can’t be done, place the tooth in milk. Avoid touching the root of the tooth. Get medical attention quickly for the best chance of saving and re-implanting the tooth.