Are you worried about how to handle a dental emergency with your child? Your worries are justified – children’s dental emergencies can have serious consequences. But, don’t panic – here’s what you need to know to keep your child safe.
You will learn the 8 most common dental emergencies and how to respond to them in this article:
A toothache can be a sign of something more serious that requires immediate attention. It could be due to infection, trauma, or any number of other causes. Children often don’t know how to properly describe the kind of pain they are feeling so it can be difficult to determine the cause. Even if your child’s toothache isn’t due to an emergency situation, it should still be evaluated by a dentist right away as dental issues rarely get better on their own.
Swelling or Infection in the Jaw
Often caused by a dental abscess, if a child has swelling or an infection in the jaw, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. If pain is severe or accompanied by a fever, your child may require antibiotics. Professional care should be sought for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the situation, treatment could involve a cleaning, root canal therapy, dental extraction, or draining of the area.
Injured or Knocked-out Tooth
In the event of a child having an injured or knocked-out tooth, it’s important that they seek professional medical attention right away. Symptoms to look out for include pain, swelling, bleeding, difficulty speaking or chewing, and a chipped, broken, or missing tooth.
It is possible to save a knocked-out tooth if it is placed in a clean container of milk and the child visits a dentist soon after the injury has occurred. If the incident occurs outside typical office hours, parents can contact their local emergency room for helpful advice. A knuckle or fingertip should not be used to push any part of a damaged tooth back into place – a professional should be consulted instead.
Bleeding gums can be a sign of something serious, such as an infection or gingivitis. In any case, it is important to visit your dentist right away to determine the root of the problem.
Your dentist may need to examine the affected area and take x-rays or ask additional questions in order to properly diagnose the issue. If bleeding is due to inflammation, they may recommend brushing and flossing more often and adding special mouthwashes or rinses into their daily routine. In more severe cases, they may need antibiotics or even surgery.
In some cases, bleeding gums can indicate an underlying disease, such as leukemia or a blood disorder that affects clotting factors. Be sure to keep an eye on other symptoms that may present such as fever, bruising, or swollen lymph nodes so you can properly inform your dentist during your visit.
Severe Cavities/Tooth Decay
Cavities, or tooth decay, are a common problem in children. Cavities occur when not enough saliva (spit) is produced which leads to acid buildup caused by bacterial growth. Over time, the acid wears away the enamel of a tooth, creating openings in it that can get infected and cause severe pain.
Severe cavities should be treated immediately by visiting your dentist as soon as possible. Treatment options may include fillings to treat milder cavities or a root canal if the cavity has reached deeper layers of the tooth. If the infection is too severe and antibiotics are not enough to control it, then extraction may need to be performed in order to make sure that the infection does not spread further.
Broken Brackets, Wires, and Bands From Braces
Broken brackets, wires, and bands from braces are a common dental emergency for children often resulting in lacerations to the cheeks and gums. The best course of action is to save all broken pieces and take your child to the dentist as soon as possible. Depending on how severe the injury is, a splint may be needed.
While waiting for treatment, use over-the-counter painkillers and apply a topical mouth or lip ointment to soothe any areas where there was a laceration.
An abscessed tooth is a dental emergency that occurs when a bacterial infection develops around the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. This is usually caused by an injury, advanced periodontal disease, or a cracked tooth. Common symptoms of an abscessed tooth may include severe pain, swelling on the face and neck, difficulty in swallowing or breathing due to swelling in the throat area, fever, bad breath, and increased sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures in the affected area.
If you suspect your child has an abscessed tooth, it is important to seek emergency dental care immediately. Treating an abscess as soon as possible can help minimize potential health risks including spreading bacteria to other parts of the head and face.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a common dental emergency for children?
One of the most common dental emergencies for children is a painful toothache.
What should I do if my child has a dental emergency?
The first step is to contact your child’s dentist right away. The dentist can provide advice on how to handle the situation and determine if an emergency appointment is necessary.
What other types of dental emergencies can occur in children?
Other common dental emergencies in children include broken or knocked-out teeth, objects stuck between teeth, and severe tooth sensitivity.
Whether your child’s emergency is a lost baby tooth, a broken tooth, or a toothache, it’s important to stay calm and call your dentist or emergency dental clinic. Your dentist will help you determine if you should come into the office for emergency care or possibly postpone treatment until regular business hours.
Taking proper care of your child’s teeth is essential for their long-term oral health. Keep in mind that preventative measures can reduce the risk of potential dental problems down the line. To start, establish good habits like brushing for two minutes twice each day and visiting the dental specialist regularly for professional cleanings. Be sure to ask your dentist for additional tips on how you can keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong.