What to do if your child has a dental emergency


A tooth emergency can happen to any child, any time. Your child might fall and break or knock out a tooth. Another might bite her cheek or tongue to the point of bleeding and swelling. Depending on the situation, you may need your child’s pediatric dentist to mend the mishap. Here’s what to do in the meantime. If your child:

  • falls and knocks out a permanent tooth. First, remain calm. Your child may be startled and it’s up to you to keep the situation under control. Comfort your child and take their mind off the accident.

Next, locate the tooth and pick it up by the chewing surface, being careful not to touch the root. If the tooth is not dirty or broken, try to reinsert it into the empty socket in your child’s mouth. Have your child hold the tooth in place by biting on

a clean cloth or gauze. If the tooth is dirty, broken, or you cannot reinsert it, put the tooth in a glass of milk or a saltwater solution.

Contact your pediatric dentist immediately.

  • chips or breaks a tooth. Again, remain calm and comfort your child. Place the broken tooth in a glass of milk or saltwater solution. Do not scrape or scrub it. Take your child to your pediatric dentist immediately. In some cases, the broken piece of tooth can be reattached in the dentist’s office.
  • cuts or bites her lip, cheek, or tongue. A cut or bitten lip, cheek, or tongue is no fun. It can lead to bleeding and swelling. To relieve these symptoms, apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. If there is swelling, apply a cold compress (a popsicle works well.) Finally, give your child a kid-appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for any discomfort.
  • has a toothache. Soothe the ache with a warm salt water rinse. Apply a cold compress directly to the affected area if you notice any swelling. Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. Visit your child’s dentist as soon as possible to find out what’s causing the toothache.
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