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As parents, our children’s safety and health is our top priority. Knowing how to handle common pediatric dental emergencies can make all the difference in ensuring your child’s oral health. In this article, we’ll explore the most common pediatric dental emergencies, their causes, and how to respond.
A toothache is a common complaint among children, and it can be caused by various factors. In most cases, a toothache is not an emergency. However, if your child complains of a toothache, it is important to schedule an appointment with their dentist right away. Toothaches can be caused by decay (or a cavity), in which case you will want to have your child’s cavity treated and filled so that it doesn’t become worse.
For a mild toothache, administer over-the-counter oral or topical pain relievers if appropriate, following the recommended dosage for your child’s age. If your child is in severe pain or their toothache is accompanied by a fever, seek emergency dental immediately. It may be a dental abscess, which is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment.
Accidents are common, especially in active children, and it is not uncommon for a tooth to be knocked out. If the tooth in question is a baby tooth, it will not be possible to save it, but your child’s permanent tooth will eventually grow in. It is important to still make a dental appointment to assess the damage.
- If the lost tooth is a permanent tooth, you may be able to save it, but you must act fast.
- Handle the tooth by the crown (the part that shows) and avoid touching the root.
- Gently rinse the tooth, ideally with milk or saline solution, to remove dirt, but do not scrub it.
- Attempt to reinsert it into the socket and ask your child to gently bite down on a clean cloth or gauze to hold it in place. If reinsertion is not feasible, store the tooth in a container with milk.
- In either case, get to an emergency dentist immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to saving the tooth.
Chipped or Broken Tooth
Like knocked-out teeth, chipped or broken teeth often result from falls, sports injuries, or accidents. If your child chips or breaks a tooth, follow these steps:
- Rinse with warm water in order to remove any debris.
- Apply a cold compress if there is swelling and relieve pain.
- If the remaining tooth is sharp or jagged, use over the counter dental filling material to blunt the edges.
- See your dentist right away. We will assess the damage to your tooth and determine the best course of action, which may include bonding, a crown, or other restorative procedures.
A lost filling can occur when a dental filling becomes dislodged from a tooth due to wear and tear or trauma. It may not be painful, but a lost filling should be handled by your child’s dentist as soon as you can make an appointment. Be mindful that a lost filling can mean that a sharp tooth edge is exposed and can injure other areas of your child’s mouth. If your child experiences a lost filling, here’s what you can do:
- Encourage your child not to chew on the affected side to avoid further damage.
- Have your child rinse gently with warm water to remove any debris.
- Apply a temporary dental filling material, available over-the-counter, to the exposed area if possible, to protect the tooth and other areas of the mouth until you can see the dentist.
- Schedule an appointment as soon as possible for a permanent replacement or evaluation to determine if further treatment is necessary. Ignoring a lost filling can lead to pain and potential complications.
Tooth displacement, often caused by a blow to the face or mouth, can result in the tooth being pushed out of its normal position. Do not attempt to push the tooth back into place on your own. Advise your child not to chew on the affected area. Tooth displacement requires immediate attention to increase the chances of preserving the affected tooth and preventing complications.
Prevention is Key
While knowing how to respond to pediatric dental emergencies is helpful, preventing them is even better. Encourage excellent oral hygiene habits, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. Additionally, ensure they wear appropriate protective gear when playing sports or engaging in other activities with a risk of dental injuries.
Don’t wait until an emergency strikes – book an appointment for your child today to ensure their smile stays healthy and strong!