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Dental Emergencies

Dental Emergencies

You may need to bring your child to our office for a non-scheduled emergency visit for several reasons. One of the most common dental emergency situations is when your child is experiencing pain. What might be causing this pain? Some possibilities are: hot/cold foods and drinks and biting or grinding the teeth. Another possible cause of tooth pain is if a filling falls out. This results in a throbbing type of ache.

Emergency visits may also be prompted by an injury to the teeth or mouth. Do not ignore dental injuries! Waiting too long to address them can result in damage to nerves or blood vessels. This may cause an infection, which could then spread from the mouth to other parts of the body. If your child experiences a tooth injury, contact our office so we can address the problem as soon as necessary.

When should you take your child to the dentist for an emergency? A basic rule of thumb is that if it hurts, you should call us. A small problem can grow into something larger later, so early assessment is important. Obvious damage such as chips or fractures should be addressed.  So should lost fillings and crowns—these can result in crumbling of the teeth later on if not dealt with.

What to do if:

A permanent tooth is knocked out – make your best effort to find the tooth. Gently rinse it in cool water for 10 seconds, but do not scrub it or use soap. Replace the tooth in its socket, and hold it in place with a clean piece of gauze or wash cloth. If this is not possible, store the tooth in a clean container in cold milk if possible, or have the child spit into a cup and put the tooth into the saliva. Contact our office so we can advise you where your child can be seen as soon as possible.

A baby tooth is knocked out – contact the office.  Rinse your child’s mouth with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. It is not important to look for the tooth, as baby teeth should not be replanted. Instead, soothe your child.

Your child has a toothache – do not apply heat or aspirin to the area. Call the office, and rinse the area with water. Apply a cold compress or wrapped ice pack.

A tooth becomes chipped or breaks – contact our office.  Responding appropriately can help preserve the tooth, stop infection, and hopefully minimize the need for more extensive treatment later. Rinse your child’s mouth with water and apply a cold compress. If you can find the tooth fragment, bring it to the office with you.