Common Dental Emergencies
A tooth emergency can happen to any child, any time. Your child might fall and break or knock out a tooth. Another might bite her cheek or tongue to the point of bleeding and swelling. Depending on the situation, you may need your child’s pediatric dentist to mend the mishap. Here’s what to do in the meantime.
The first thing to remember is to stay calm. Injuries to the mouth, face and teeth happen frequently in children. Remaining calm and taking prompt action will help minimize the damaging effects of the injury, and lessen your child’s discomfort.
Toothaches or Dental Pain
First, thoroughly rinse your child’s mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any lodged food. If your child’s mouth is swollen, apply a cold compress to the outside of your child’s mouth or cheek. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. See The dentist or your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
Chipped or broken teeth.
Save any pieces. Rinse your child’s mouth using warm water; rinse any broken pieces. If there’s bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the broken/chipped tooth to keep any swelling down and relieve pain. See The dentist as soon as possible.
Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available) or a product containing cell growth medium, such as Save-a-Tooth. In all cases, see The dentist as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth with the highest chances of being saved are those seen by The dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out. If its a baby tooth which has avulsed please do not try to put it back in the socket. See your pediatric dentist or Dr. Abarca as quickly as possible.
Objects caught between teeth.
First, try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object from your child’s mouth. If you can’t get the object out, see your dentist. Never use a pin or other sharp object to poke at the stuck object.
As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See The dentist as soon as possible.
Broken braces and wires.
If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your child’s cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to The dentist’s office. Never cut the wire, as your child could end up swallowing it or breathing it into their lungs.
Swelling of the face
If you child is having swelling on the face the origin of it can be an infected tooth. Immediately see the pediatric dentist or a near by emergency room before it is too late.
Swollen or Red Gums
There can be various reasons for swollen gums. Rinse your child’s mouth with warm salt water and see Dr. Abarca as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can give your child Motrin or Tylenol if he or she is in pain.