Dental emergencies in Children

Emergencies happen. No parent likes to think about them, but at Stanley Pediatric Dentistry of Overland Park, we’re prepared for any dental emergency involving infants, children and teenagers.

When to seek emergency dental treatment for your child

Most dental emergencies for infants, children and teenagers are not life-threatening.

While that’s good news, it does not mean these emergencies aren’t important, and that seeing your pediatric dentist as soon as possible isn’t the best course of action. Emergencies include the loss of a permanent tooth, certain sports related injuries, and in some cases, extreme pain in one or more teeth not easily alleviated at home. Should an emergency occur that needs immediate attention, rest assured that someone from our office will be available to assess the situation, and if necessary, provide treatment in a timely, compassionate manner.

Children's Emergency Dental Care FAQ

What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?

It’s important to remain calm in these situations. If you seem upset, your child’s level of anxiety will also increase. If you can find the tooth, be sure to hold it by the crown, not the root. Replace the tooth in the socket, holding it in place with gauze or a clean washcloth. If it isn’t possible to place the tooth back in the socket, find a clean container, and place the tooth there with a little milk and get to the pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Remember, the more quickly you act, the better the odds are that the tooth can be saved.

My child plays sports. What should I do to protect his or her teeth?

Sports related injuries can be scary. If something happens during a game or practice that causes serious injury to the teeth or gums, be sure to contact us as soon as possible. There are plenty of things you can do to lessen the odds of serious injury from taking place, however, and a mouth guard should be priority one. Athletic mouth protectors are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth, meaning your child should easily get used to wearing one, with very little discomfort. They protect the lips, teeth, cheeks and gums from sports related injuries. While any mouth guard is better than no mouth guard at all, the best bet is a guard that’s been custom fitted by our office. That’s your child’s best bet against injuries on the field or on the court.

What should I do in the event of a toothache?

Begin by cleaning around the sore tooth as meticulously as possible. Warm salt water is a good place to start. Rinse the mouth and try to displace any food that’s trapped between teeth. NEVER use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum. If facial swelling should occur, apply a cold compress to the area. See your dentist as soon as possible, and for temporary relief, use acetaminophen (Tylenol).

What should I do in the event of a cut or bitten tounge, lip, or cheek?

Ice can be applied to any bruised area, while bleeding should be addressed with a sterile gauze or clean cloth by applying firm but gentle pressure. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after fifteen minutes or so, make your way to an emergency room.

What should I do if my child has broken braces or wires?

Throughout the course of orthodontic treatment, broken braces or wires are going to occur sometimes. Only remove a broken appliance if it comes out easily. If it’s lodged or painful to remove, cover any protruding edges with wax, cotton balls, gauze or even chewing gum. Do NOT remove any wire caught in the gums, cheek or tongue; see the dentist right away. For broken or loose appliances that aren’t causing discomfort, emergency attention is generally not required.

What should I do if my child breaks a tooth?

First, rinse the area with warm water and place a cold compress over the facial area of the injury. Try to recover any broken tooth fragments, and seek dental care right away.

What if I think my child's jaw is broken?

In the event of a jaw injury, tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie, or handkerchief. Go immediately to an emergency room.

If there's bleeding after a baby tooth falls out, what should I do?

Fold a piece of gauze and place it tightly over the bleeding area. Have your child bite down on the gauze for 15 minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, see a dentist right away.

What do I do in the event of cold or canker sores showing up?

In most cases, over the counter medications will suffice. If sores persist, see your dentist.