Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency
can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth.
For all dental emergencies, it’s important to take your child to the dentist or
an emergency room as soon as possible.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
If your child has bitten his lip or tongue severely enough to cause bleeding, clean
the bite gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth
pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling.
Object Caught In Teeth
If your child has something caught between his teeth, use dental floss to gently
remove it. Never use a metal, plastic, or sharp tool to remove a stuck object. If
you are unable to remove the item with dental floss, visit your dentist.
Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of his tooth, have him rinse his
mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate
and save the tooth fragment that broke off.Go to the dentist immediately.
Knocked Out Tooth
If your child's tooth has been knocked out of his mouth, find the tooth and rinse
it with water (no soap), taking care to only touch the crown of the tooth (the part
you can see when it's in place). If you can, place the tooth back in its socket
and hold it in place with a clean towel or cloth. If you can't return the tooth
to its socket, place it in a clean container with milk. In either case, call your
dentist immediately and/or head to the hospital. If you act quickly it's possible
to save the tooth.If a baby tooth is knocked out, do not try to push it back too
hard in its socket, as this may damage the unerupted permanent tooth.
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his mouth with warm water and inspect
his teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. If pain continues, use
a cold compress to ease the pain. Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical
pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums.
Children's pain relievers may be taken orally. Schedule an appointment immediately.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress
to reduce swelling. Call the dentists emergency number and/or head to the hospital
immediately. In many cases a broken jaw is the result of a blow to the head. Severe
blows to the head can be dangerous and even life- threatening.
You can help your child avoid dental emergencies. Child- proof your house to avoid
falls. Don't let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. Always
use car seats for young children and require seat belts for older children. And
if your child plays contact sports, have him wear a mouthguard.
The IDA recommends that you do not take any of these accidental injuries lightly
and visit your dentist or nearby hospital as soon as possible.