Pediatric Dental Emergencies
If you face a dental emergency, we are here for you. If your child is a current patient of record and in need of emergency treatment after hours, you can call our emergency number. We are 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.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
If your child has bitten his lip or tongue severely 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. If bleeding does not stop with several minutes of firm pressure on the wound, go to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.
Object Caught In Teeth
If your child has something caught between his 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, call us during our next business hours and we will scehdule your child for an appointment.
Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of his tooth, have him rinse his mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. If the fractured tooth is a permanent (adult) tooth or if the tooth has a nerve exposure, call us on the emergency number.
Knocked Out Tooth
If your child’s tooth has been knocked out of his mouth, find the tooth and rinse it with water (no soap), taking care to only touch the crown of the tooth (the part you can see when it’s in place). Place the tooth in a clean container with milk. If the tooth is a permanent tooth, call us immediately and/or head to the hospital (UNM is the best option beacuse they have dental residents who work there). If you act quickly it's possible to save the tooth. If a baby tooth is knocked completely out of the mouth, it should not be reinserted to avoid trauma to the permanent tooth growing in the bone.
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled. Have your child wiggle on the tooth or have them let you wiggle to help remove the tooth. If your child has been trying to wiggle the tooth and it has not fallen out after several weeks, call us to schedule an appointment.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his mouth with warm water and inspect his teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. If pain continues, use a cold compress to ease the pain. Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children’s pain relievers may be taken orally. Schedule an appointment during our next business hours.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Head to the closest hospital immediately. A broken jaw requires a surgeon to treat and repair. 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. It is best to go the closest hospital ER for immeidate evaluation.
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 seat belts for older children. And if your child plays contact sports, have him 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.