Emergencies

Know What to Do!

Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s tooth. Here are some helpful tips:

KNOCKED OUT PERMANENT TOOTH.

Keep tooth moist at all times. Hold the tooth by the crown, and if the tooth is dirty, rinse the root in water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments. The tooth must not be left outside the mouth to dry. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If it cannot be replaced in the socket, put it in one of the following:

Emergency tooth preservation kit:

Milk

Mouth (next to cheek)

If none of these are practical, use water (with a pinch of salt, if possible). Bring the patient (and don’t forget the tooth!) to a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible-ideally, within 15 minutes. However, it may be possible to save the tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more. Baby teeth that have been knocked out typically are not replaced because of the potential damage to developing permanent teeth.

CRACKED OR BROKEN TOOTH.

Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. Take your child to see a dentist right away. If possible, take the broken fragment with you. The dentist may be able to bond fragment to the tooth.

JAW POSSIBLY BROKEN.

Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Take your child to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.

OBJECTS CAUGHT BETWEEN TEETH.

Gently try to remove the object with dental floss. If you’re not successful, visit your dentist. Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.

TOOTHACHE.

Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. Take your child to visit the dentist as soon as possible.

BITTEN TONGUE OR LIP.

Clean the area gently with a cloth, and put cold compresses on the area to keep swelling down. If bleeding is excessive or does not stop in a short period time, take your child to your dentist or hospital emergency room.

The following resources have great articles and information on Pediatric Dentistry: