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Pediatric Dental Emergencies

If your child faces a dental emergency, give us a call immediately. If you need urgent treatment after hours, you can call our main office number and listen for instructions on how to contact a dentist for after-hours emergencies.  We are always here to assist when your child's dental health is at risk.  Below are tips on dealing with urgent dental situations. You may want to display this list on your refrigerator or store it near your emergency phone numbers for easy reference.

WHAT TO DO IF ...

A permanent tooth is knocked out:

If your child's permanent tooth has been knocked out, find the tooth and rinse it gently with cool water (do not scrub or use soap), taking care to only touch the crown of the tooth (the part you can see when it's in place).  REPLACE THE TOOTH in the socket and hold it there with a clean gauze or washcloth.  If you cannot put the tooth back in the socket, place it in a clean container, preferably with cold MILK.  If milk is not available, put it in a container with the child's saliva, but NOT IN WATER.  Take your child to our office IMMEDIATELY, or call (805) 295-4119 if it is after hours.  If you act quickly, it is possible to save the permanent tooth.

A baby tooth is knocked out:

Rinse the mouth with water and apply COLD COMPRESSES to reduce swelling.  Spend time COMFORTING THE CHILD rather than looking for the tooth.  Remember, baby teeth should not be replanted because of potential damage to developing permanent teeth.  Contact our office as soon as possible.  Quick action can lessen a child's discomfort and prevent infection. 

Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth:

If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of a tooth, rinse his or her mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call us immediately for an appointment.

Bitten Lip or Tongue:

If your child has a bitten lip or tongue severe enough to cause bleeding, clean the bite gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling. Give us a call to help determine how serious the bite is.

Object Caught In Teeth:

If your child has something caught between his or her teeth, use dental floss to gently remove it. Never use a metal, plastic, or sharp tool to remove a stuck object. If you are unable to remove the item with dental floss, give us a call.

Loose Tooth

If your child has a very loose tooth that cannot be wiggled out at home, it may need professional removal to help the permanent tooth come in correctly.  In many cases, however, observation is appropriate.  A consultation is usually needed to determine the best course of action. 

Toothache

If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his or her mouth with warm water and inspect/floss the teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them that might be the cause of sensitvity. Over-the-counter children's pain relievers and cold food items can be helpful in easing discomfort. Schedule an appointment so the cause of pain can be determined. 

Broken Jaw

If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Call our emergency number and/or head to the hospital immediately.  In many cases, a broken jaw is the result of a blow to the head. Severe blows to the head can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

Avoiding Injury

You can help your child avoid dental emergencies. Child-proof your house to avoid falls. Don't let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. Always use car seats for young children and require seatbelts for older children. And if your child plays contact sports, have him or her wear a mouthguard. Ask us about creating a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child. Finally, prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.