How to Handle Emergency Dental Care for Your Child
Accidents happen, especially with our little ones!
Whether they’ve fallen down or accidentally became injured during a sports game – there’s no need to fret. While dental injuries are common, knowing how to respond during an emergency can greatly help your child in their time of need and even prevent tooth loss.
Here are some tips from the board certified pediatric dentists at Jenkins & LeBlanc to help you act quickly and calmly during your child’s dental emergency.
Knocked Out a Tooth
If your child experiences an accident to their baby teeth, you should call your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. While it is normal for children to lose their baby teeth, an accident can possibly affect surrounding baby teeth and even the unerupted adult tooth underneath.
Do not try to put the tooth back into the socket. It’s best to have your dentist assess the area and recommend next steps.
However, if an adult tooth is knocked out, it should be placed back into the socket immediately.
Once you find the tooth, hold it by the crown (top of tooth) and not the root. Next, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket with a clean washcloth or gauze pad.
If the tooth looks dirty, gently rinse the root with water before inserting it. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached bits of tissue.
If it is not possible to place the tooth back in the socket, have your child hold the tooth in their cheek or under the tongue. If that is unsuccessful, place the tooth in a container or sealed bag with milk, saliva, saline solution or an emergency tooth preservation kit. As a last resort, you may put the tooth in water.
Take your child to the dentist as quickly as possible. It’s best to see a dentist within 30 minutes. Don’t forget to bring the tooth and any tooth pieces you can find!
Broken or Cracked Tooth
If your child has a broken or cracked tooth, visit the dentist right away to prevent further injury. If you can find the broken tooth piece, bring it with you to the emergency appointment. Wrap it in some wet gauze or a wet towel if possible.
In the meantime, rinse their mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. Then place a cold compress (like an ice pack or washcloth with ice wrapped inside) on your child’s face to help reduce swelling.
If your child has chipped a small portion of a tooth — and is not experiencing any pain — then schedule an appointment as soon as its convenient for you. There are several dental restoration options the dentist can recommend for how the tooth can be repaired.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
Injuries to the tongue or lip happen for a variety of reasons, including misalignment of the teeth. If your child experiences a cut to their tongue or lip, gently clean the area with a cloth. You can also place a cold compress on the area to keep the swelling down.
If there is a lot of bleeding, or if it doesn’t stop after a brief time, take your child to a dentist or emergency center for further examination.
Objects Caught Between Teeth
If food or debris get caught in between your child’s teeth, gently try removing the object with a toothbrush and dental floss. If that doesn’t work, go to the dentist. Do no try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.
Toothache or Swollen Face
A toothache most commonly occurs because of an abscess or decay. Rinse the mouth out with warm water to clean it. Give your child what you would normally give them for pain. Do not put any medication directly on the aching tooth or gums. Take your child to the dentist as soon as you can.
If your child’s face is swollen, take your child to your dentist or physician. Swelling of the face can be a sign of serious infection. Do not delay.
In some cases, accidents may cause a broken jaw. If you notice your child’s face is swelling, apply a cold compress to ease the inflammation. Take your child to the dentist or an emergency center right away where they can confirm the injury with dental x-rays.
Contact Jenkins & LeBlanc, Your Emergency Pediatric Dentist
If your child is experiencing any of these emergencies, your pediatric dentist can help repair structural damage to a tooth or address other concerns.
At Jenkins & LeBlanc Dentistry for Children, we always have a doctor on call to help direct and facilitate any necessary treatment.
Call any of our 5 convenient locations during or outside of business hours to be directed to our emergency line.