If you face a dental emergency or need urgent treatment after hours, give us a call immediately. We are always here to assist when your child’s dental health is at risk. Below are tips on dealing with urgent dental situations. You may want to display this list on your refrigerator or store it near your emergency phone numbers for easy reference.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
If your child has bitten their 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. Give us a call to help determine how serious the bite is.
Object Caught In Teeth
If your child has something caught between their 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, give us a call.
Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of their tooth, have them rinse their mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call us immediately.
Knocked Out Tooth
If your child’s tooth has been knocked out of the 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). Place the tooth in a clean container with milk. Call us immediately and/or head to the hospital. If you act quickly, it's possible to save the tooth.
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse their mouth with warm water and inspect the 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 and 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 them wear a mouthguard. Ask us about creating a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child. Finally, prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.
Common Dental Injuries in Sports
Tooth knocked out:
- Time is the most important factor when trying to save a tooth, so get to your dentist as soon as possible. In general, there is a 30-minute window of opportunity to re-implant the tooth in the socket.
- Do not try to re-implant the tooth yourself.
- The best liquid to transport a tooth in is cold milk. If milk is not available, use saliva (if possible), saline, or if nothing else is available, water.
- Don’t let the tooth dry out and don’t wrap it in anything.
- Don’t touch the tooth root if you can avoid it.
- Your dentist will likely use an X-ray of the tooth to determine the treatment necessary.
- For a serious chip that exposes the pulp of the tooth, get to your dentist as soon as possible.
- If a tooth is chipped or cracked, sometimes the tooth can be fixed with a filling or bonding alone.
- Sometimes a tooth is cracked or chipped in a way affecting the nerve of the tooth, and a more complicated treatment may be needed.
- If a tooth is moved due to trauma, see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Do not try to move the tooth back on your own.
- For any mouth discomfort before you get to the dentist, apply ice.
Protecting your child’s smile while playing sports is essential. Sports related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes.
Mouthguards help protect teeth and gums from injury, and the American Dental Association recommends wearing one for a majority of sports.
Types of Mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard. When choosing a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted to your child’s mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent proper breathing. If they wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for them to wear a mouthguard. Your dentist can show your child how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard.
One of the best ways to prevent injury to your child’s teeth and mouth is to have him or her wear a mouthguard while playing sports. There are several types of mouthguards to choose from, and your doctor can help you choose the best one for your child’s particular needs.