You do your best to take good care of your kids’ teeth. They brush and floss regularly, wear proper mouthpieces when playing contact sports, and visit the dentist every six months. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that emergencies won’t ever happen. If your child has experienced a dental emergency, you need to know how to respond quickly and effectively in order to protect their mouth as much as possible.
Types of Dental Emergencies
Typically, dental emergencies are caused by injury. Your child has had a tooth knocked out, cracked a tooth as a result of rough play or an accident, or simply chipped a tooth in a way that has caused pain. You may also need an emergency trip to the dentist if your child is experiencing a toothache or if your child has gotten something stuck between their teeth that you’re unable to get out on your own.
Responding to an Emergency
When your child’s mouth has been injured, it’s important to respond quickly and calmly. You want to minimize further damage and, if possible, fix any damage to the tooth as soon as possible. Make sure that you’re following these steps:
Stop the bleeding quickly. Using gauze to apply pressure to the wound is an excellent way to stop bleeding and make it easier to assess the injury.
Check the wound. If your child has cracked or chipped a tooth, a visit to the dentist is in order as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Find the tooth. Has your child knocked out a tooth? Make sure you find it before making a call to the dentist. If it’s a baby tooth, your child’s dentist will assess whether or not it needs to be put back in depending on the condition of the tooth, the age of your child, and other factors. Even if the tooth is a baby tooth that should be close to coming out anyway, make sure you find it to take to the dentist if at all possible. This will allow your dentist to assess whether the entire tooth has come out or if it’s been broken.
Keep the root of the tooth moist. If your child has lost an adult tooth, in particular, it’s important to make sure to keep it moist. If possible, put it back in place within your child’s mouth. Biting down gently on gauze or a tea bag can help keep the tooth in place. If that’s not possible, place it in a container of milk or in a tooth preservation product approved by the American Dental Association.
Call your dentist. They’ll be able to assess whether or not you need an appointment immediately and advise you about further steps.
Is a Toothache a Dental Emergency?
If your child has a toothache, you may find yourself wondering whether or not it’s really classified as an emergency. In some cases–especially if your child seems to be in a lot of pain–your best option is to get to the dentist quickly. However, there are some steps you can take at home to alleviate pain and help solve the problem while waiting for an appointment.
- Use dental floss to gently loosen any food or other particles stuck between the teeth.
- Rinse with warm salt water to help alleviate pain and decrease swelling.
- Offer an over-the-counter pain reliever to help reduce pain for your child.
Dealing with a dental emergency is stressful. Thankfully, Denison Family Dentistry is there to help you through the process and ensure that your child gets the best possible care. Make sure to call Dr. Denison for advice as soon as possible when you know you’re dealing with a dental emergency and one of our team members will tell you exactly what steps to take to save the tooth. Contact us immediately at (757) 873-9000 for help.