How to Handle Child Dental Emergencies
Every parent is quick to help with an injury, and knows the action of putting a bandage on a skinned knee all too well. But a child’s dental problems also need prompt attention, especially when emergencies arise. Seeing your child hurt or in pain is something no parent wants to have to experience. Dental problems in children can be especially hard to pinpoint, often because they can be functionally invisible to parent and child alike.
While there is no way for a child (or any of us for that matter) to completely avoid dental emergencies, it is important to know about the possibilities in order to avoid them. Today, we will take a look at some of the most common dental injuries that can occur and how to address them should they happen.
For a cracked or chipped tooth, immediately rinse the child’s mouth with warm water to help clean out the area. Quickly put a cold compress on the area of the cracked tooth to help any swelling that could start from the area of impact. The best course of action is to call the child’s dentist and get them in to make sure no nerves are exposed, and that a suitable treatment can be administered. If the tooth has partially broken off, clean and save that part of the tooth in a clean container, and bring it with you to your dentist.
Knocked Out Tooth
A knocked out baby tooth is generally not considered an emergency but you may want to keep the tooth and bring it to your child’s next appointment.
A knocked out permanent tooth is much more serious and qualifies as a dental emergency. First off, make sure your child isn’t suffering from injuries in other areas on their body, especially head trauma.
Next, find the tooth that was knocked out and keep it moist, making sure not to touch the root. Gently rinse the tooth with saline solution, and if it can stay moist in the mouth by placing it in the socket it was knocked out in, that is ideal. In some cases that is not a possibility, so in such a scenario, put the tooth in a clean container with saline solution or milk. Visit your dentist immediately to make sure no other injuries (dental or otherwise) are causing your child pain.
Bitten/Cut Lip or Cheek
An injury that looks worse than it is, a cut or bitten lip can be treated at home with some proper wound care and kind words. Remember to always stay calm and never panic at blood or cuts, as your child will usually mimic your concern even if the injury isn’t as bad as it looks. Start by cleaning the area gently with water and apply a cold compress to the cut or bite to minimize any swelling that may occur. If the bleeding is minor, apply light pressure to help the area clot. If the swelling won’t go down, contact your pediatric dentist for an emergency visit. If bleeding won’t let up, go to your nearest ER immediately and have the wound examined.
Toothaches can happen for a multitude of reasons, some more serious than others. Start out by rinsing out the mouth with warm water to help get it clean. Then use floss, as food can sometimes get stuck between teeth and create pressure. If these steps don’t work, your child might be suffering from an abscess, cavity or other issue that can’t be solved at home.
A dental abscess can lead to infection and other health problems, so if you think that may be what is causing the toothache, make sure to contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Any toothache that lasts more than a short period of time should be examined by your pediatric dentist for any potential underlying causes.
Jaw Pain/Broken Jaw
This can be an emergency that could require immediate care by your pediatric dentist or an emergency room, depending on the pain level and manner of break.
Assess the area and swelling. Apply a cold compress and check if the jaw is just tender or if the bone could actually be broken. With a minor fracture or tender jaw, the best thing is to keep the compress applied and contact your pediatric dentist. If the jaw has a major break or the pain level is becoming an issue, take your child to the ER for immediate care.
Here are are a few quick and simple tips to help aid you in injury prevention:
- Don’t allow a child to run with anything in their mouth.
- Use scissors, NOT teeth, to open packages, food, cans, etc.
- Make sure your child wears the recommended protective gear when playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
- Teach the importance of brushing and flossing early and make basic oral care a part of their daily routine.
- Visit a pediatric dentist every 6 months for cleaning and checkup to avoid possible future issues.
In Need Of A Pediatric Dentist Right Away?
At Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry, we have a team of dental professionals ready to help out no matter the emergency. We will provide unparalleled service and care for your child and give them the medical attention they deserve.
Call us anytime with questions or concerns about your child’s dental health. Any emergency, big or small, is our priority and we are here to get your child back out in the world with a smile on their face.