Dental emergencies can happen at anytime, but occurrences seem to increase during school vacations and holidays when kids are busy riding bikes, playing sports or jumping on trampolines. During an emergency it is important to stay calm and reassure your child that they will be okay. The next time a dental emergency occurs in your family follow these helpful hints for addressing common dental injuries.
1. Knocked-out Permanent Tooth: Find the tooth but do not clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Place the tooth in a cup containing milk, the child’s saliva or water. The child must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth. Ideally the tooth should be reimplanted by a dentist within 30 minutes of being knocked-out.
2. Broken Tooth: Rinse and clean the child’s injured area with warm water. Examine the area and if the tooth is bleeding or has shifted position in the jaw then immediate dental attention is necessary. Place a cold compress on the child’s face over the injured area and bring the child to a dentist.
3. Toothache: Clean the area of the affected tooth thoroughly with warm water and floss to clean-out debris. Do not place aspirin on the gum of the aching tooth. If the child’s face is swollen place a cold compress on the face and see a dentist when the child complains of toothache pain. A spreading infection can be very dangerous for a child and can lead to serious health complications.
4. Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: Apply ice to the child’s bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with gauze. If the bleeding is not stopped after 15 minutes or can not be controlled with simple pressure take the child to the emergency room.
5. Cold Sore or Canker Sore: Many children occasionally suffer from “cold or canker” sores. Usually over-the-counter preparations give some relief. It typically takes 7-10 days for these sores to heal. If these sores persist it is important to have a dental evaluation since many systemic and oral diseases mimic or begin as sores in the mouth.
During dental emergencies it is important to remain calm and try to comfort the child. Quick action by the parent is often needed to preserve a child’s tooth or prevent infection and pain. If you have questions or an emergency situation arises please contact your child’s dentist in order to maintain their dental health and comfort.