In Case of a Dental Emergency
WHEN WE THINK OF an emergency, we probably don’t imagine it could have something to do with our teeth. Dental emergencies are already stressful for not only your child, but you as well. Unfortunately, they are also extremely common. Any chip, crack, or toothache should be treated as a priority, because even if they seem like minor issues, they can lead to much worse (and more expensive) problems down the line.
Know Where To Go
Before an emergency happens, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself and your family. The first is to find a dental practice that is right for you. This way, you’ll know where to turn when something goes wrong unexpectedly, and you won’t have to waste precious time looking up dental practices and filling out all that paperwork. You want a dentist who is within easy driving distance, has a good reputation, and who makes you and your family feel comfortable. Luckily, here at Coastal Pediatric Dentistry we are fully prepared to handle your child's needs and come equipped with an After-Hours Emergency Line, which is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Common Dental Emergencies
In addition to knowing where to turn when an emergency happens, you can also prepare for dental emergencies by becoming educated on what you can do on the way to the dentist. Here are the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendations for five common dental emergencies:
1. A Knocked Out Baby Tooth
If a baby tooth is knocked out, contact your dentist immediately to make an evaluation appointment. Most likely, even if the tooth was not loose, they will not replant it because it could compromise the developing permanent tooth underneath. Do NOT put the tooth back in the socket if it's a baby tooth, as it may cause injury to the underlying adult tooth.
2. Fracture Of A Tooth
If a tooth is cracked, chipped, or broken, contact your dentist right away because this will need treatment as soon as possible. Rinse out your mouth with water and find any broken fragments of tooth, then place them in cold milk to preserve them and bring them with you to the dentist. Do not ignore a crack or chip! If the dental pulp is exposed, it is in danger of infection unless treated quickly!
Watch this video to learn about bonding, one way a dentist may repair a chipped tooth:
3. A Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
If a permanent tooth is knocked out, head straight to the dentist, give us a heads up on the way. In most cases, a knocked out tooth can be saved more often than not if the dentist sees you within an hour of the accident. Before you get there, you can help preserve the tooth by replacing it in the socket and holding it in place with clean gauze or a washcloth. If it won’t go back in, store it in cold milk.
A few things you should NOT do: letting the tooth dry out, handling it by the root (only hold it by the crown), scrubbing it clean, or using soap, alcohol, or peroxide on it. Doing any of these things will damage the root of the tooth, reducing the chances the dentist will be able to successfully replant it.
4. A Toothache
Even if your tooth shows no external damage, a toothache is a sign that something could be wrong on the inside, and that should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible. Toothaches are common in children of all ages, and rarely occur for no reason at all. It could be impacted food lodged in your child's teeth, a tooth fracture, tooth decay, tooth trauma, or wisdom teeth eruption. We are ready to help! We know in life sometimes you can't just drop everything and go to the dentist. Here's some things you can do to help at home before making an appointment:
a. Cleanse the area with warm water.
b. Check for impacted food and remove it as necessary. Impacted food can sometimes be dislodged using a toothbrush, a clean finger or dental floss.
c. Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling.
5. Injured Cheek, Lip or Tongue
Biting your cheek while you're fitting in that midday snack of potato chips. I think everyone knows what I'm talking about! If your child's (your your own) cheek, lip or tongue starts bleeding due to an accidental bite or cut, apply firm and direct pressure to the area using a clean cloth. If the bleeding worsens, call a medical professional immediately or go to an Emergency Room.
Your dental health is our top priority!
Now, hopefully you will never have to put any of this preparation to the test, but if you do, you now know where to go! If you have any questions about what else you can do to prepare for a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to ask us. Give us a call at (843)757-7336.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.