Dental emergencies at home are very common. If your child experiences any of the following, you should follow up with your dentist as soon as possible. In the event of a serious concern, the dentist should be contacted immediately. The steps listed here will help your child be more comfortable until you can see your dentist.
Toothache: If the child’s face and/or gums are swollen, apply ice packs to the area. Do not apply heat and do not put aspirin products on the tooth or gums. Alternative technique: hold a piece of ice on the web of skin between the index finger and thumb on the same side as the pain. It is not known why this technique is effective but it does provide relief to some patients.
Swelling for No Obvious Reason-with Teeth Sore to the Touch: The child is most likely dealing with an infection and should see their dentist (or hospital emergency service if appropriate) as soon as possible.
Injury to Lip or Tongue (Bleeding): Apply pressure, using a clean, cold cloth (or crushed ice in a towel) to bleeding area. You should seek hospital emergency services if bleeding does not stop and see a dentist as soon as possible.
Broken Filling or Tooth: Rinse gently with warm water to remove debris. (Avoid giving the child anything very hot or cold and do not eat sticky or chewy foods.) If the tooth is sensitive or if the tooth is irritating the tongue, cover tooth with sugarless chewing gum. Alternative technique: saturating a piece of cotton with oil of cloves (available at pharmacy) and placing over damaged tooth may reduce sensitivity. If there is swelling, apply ice packs. You should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Possible Broken Jaw: Immobilize jaw very gently using an ace bandage or towel. Apply ice compresses to control swelling. You should seek immediate professional help, preferably an oral surgeon, or hospital emergency room.
Knocked Out (Avulsed) Tooth: Do not brush or scrub tooth and do not touch the root. Gently rinse tooth under running water. Place tooth in a cup of milk. See a dentist as soon as possible.
Many dental injuries can be avoided by following a few simple rules. There are preparedness steps you can take as the success of dental treatment after trauma often to depends on timely action.
Automobile Safety: Children should be correctly fastened into a car or booster seat. The seat should be age and weight appropriate and should be installed properly.
Sport Safety: Make sure your children wear helmets when skating or riding bicycles, scooters, and skateboards. Mouth guards and face masks should be worn while playing contact sports.
Safety at Home: About half of all dental injuries occur at home! To avoid a “trip and fall,” be sure to keep floors clear of loose items. Keep cabinet doors and bureau drawers closed.
Be Prepared: Keep your child’s dentist’s phone number in your wallet. Note any dental caps on your child’s Insurance card. Become informed as to the school and sports group’s procedure for handling emergencies.