April 29, 2020

As a parent, you do everything you can to protect your child and keep them safe. But there’s no avoiding the fact that getting bumps and bruises are an expected part of being a kid. When playtime turns into an emergency, it’s important to act quickly. If your child has one of many possible dental emergencies, contact us as soon as you can, and we’ll schedule an appointment. We’re always here for you and your child’s dental health. We understand that an emergency is scary and stressful, but knowing how to deal with it can help you deal with it safely. Keep reading for information regarding how to deal with 5 dental emergencies in children. 

Bitten Cheek, Lip, or Tongue 

If your child bites their cheek, lip, or tongue and it causes significant bleeding, try to get the pain, swelling, and bleeding under control with a cold compress. Then, clean the bite and the area surrounding it with water. If you can’t stop the bleeding or control the swelling, call us and we can determine whether or not you need to come in for an emergency appointment. 


A toothache isn’t automatically an emergency. Sometimes kids have a hard time gauging how significant the pain they’re feeling is. A minor irritation may be the result of a trapped piece of food, and you may be able to fix this problem by gently brushing and flossing around the tooth that is in pain. Then rinse your child’s mouth with warm water. If your child is still in pain or experiencing discomfort, apply a cold compress and give your child an appropriate pain reliever. Remember that applying heat could make the problem worse. This is only a temporary fix. Call our office to schedule an emergency appointment so we can determine the cause of the toothache and treat it. 

Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth

Unless it’s causing pain or sensitivity, a broken or chipped tooth isn’t necessarily considered a time-sensitive emergency. However, you should still plan on coming to see us soon so we can avoid any future complications. If your child is in pain, call us right away so we can schedule an emergency appointment. If you have to wait a bit to come in, help your child rinse their mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to minimize swelling. If you can, find the tooth fragment and save it so that we can attempt to reattach it. 

A Permanent Tooth Has Been Knocked Out 

Of all the dental problems your child may encounter, this is one of the more serious ones. It’s also a time-sensitive emergency. It’s more than just a cosmetic problem because it can also cause serious issues such as: 

  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Shifting teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Wearing down of remaining teeth
  • Changes in their jaw joint

These complications can be avoided by acting quickly. 

If a tooth is forcibly knocked out it might bleed significantly. To handle this, apply direct pressure with a cold compress or have your child bite down on a piece of gauze. If your child is in a lot of pain, give then an appropriate amount of an over-the-counter pain reliever so they’re more comfortable. 

If you’re able to locate the tooth, gently rinse off any dirt and debris before trying to place it in the empty socket. We recommend rinsing the tooth with milk because it has a similar pH balance to saliva. Be careful not to touch the root of the tooth, and only handle it by touching the crown. It’s also acceptable to place the tooth in a cup of milk or wrap it in a cool, damp cloth. 

The tooth has the best chance of surviving if it’s reimplanted within 30 minutes of being knocked out. In light of this, it’s important to immediately seek care from Scott Edwards, DDS or the ER so it’s can be splinted quickly. We advise contacting us first if possible to avoid overloading the ER as they focus on treating COVID-19 patients.

We’ll leave the thin plastic or metal splint in place for a few weeks so the ligaments around your child’s tooth can regrow and hold the tooth in place against the bone. If the tooth doesn’t reattach within a few weeks, we’ll use an implant or bridge to fill the gap and preserve your child’s healthy smile. 

Fractured Face or Jaw 

Broken bones in your child’s face and jaw are a serious medical and dental emergency and should be treated as such. Damage to bones anywhere on your child’s face, as well as any brain injuries your child may have sustained since facial fractures are most commonly caused by a blow to the head, should be your first priority. Apply a cold compress and go to the hospital immediately. If teeth have been knocked out, you can keep them in a glass of milk or wet cloth and take them with you. Once any immediate danger is passed and the situation is under control, we can treat any oral damage. 

prevent dental emergencies with mouthguards

Avoiding Injury 

While your child has more free time than usual and some excess energy to burn it’s worth a little extra effort to help then avoid dental emergencies. Steps you can take include: 

  • Don’t let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. 
  • Always use car seats for young children and seatbelts for older children. 
  • Child-proof your house to avoid falls. 
  • If your child plays contact sports, have them wear a mouthguard
  • Prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.

Scott Edwards, DDS is here for you in any emergency

Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can make a stressful situation less scary. If you or your child experiences a dental emergency always contact us as soon as you can. Often times, acting quickly is the best way to both fix the problem at hand and avoid more significant complications later on. The team at Scott Edwards, DDS is always there for you, no matter what happens.