Emergency Dental Treatment
From time to time many children experience a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. Knowing what to do when a dental emergency arises can make the difference between saving or losing a tooth. Below are some frequent questions that are asked regarding dental emergencies. If you have any additional questions regarding dental emergencies, be sure to ask Dr. Baker.
What should I do if my child’s tooth is knocked out?
First, it is important not to panic! Second, rinse the tooth with water (do not scrub or clean the tooth with soap). Next, place the tooth in a clean jar or ziplock bag filled with milk, water or saliva. Next, take your child to see their pediatric dentist immediately. Remember, when a tooth is knocked out of the mouth, you must act fast… every minute counts!
If the tooth is a baby tooth, it will not be replanted – placed back into the socket (replanting the baby tooth can damage the developing permanent tooth bud underneath the socket). If the the tooth is a permanent tooth, then it will be replanted and splinted into place – held in place with a wire or other type of material (this will help the tooth reattach to the socket). Pending on how developed the permanent tooth is and how long the tooth remained dry, the tooth may or may not need a root canal.
It is sometimes difficult to determine how a tooth will do once it is replanted (whether the tooth will die or stay alive), which is why your pediatric dentist will ask you to follow-up regularly to determine the best course of action. Remember, you need to stay patient… only time will tell how well the tooth responds to the treatment performed.
What should I do if my child’s tooth becomes chipped or fractured?
Chipping or fracturing teeth is common amongst children. The best course of action is to see your child’s pediatric dentist right away. Treatment really depends on the severity of the chip or fracture, the type of tooth (baby vs. permanent), and the state of the tooth when it is being examined. If you find the broken tooth fragment, make sure you keep it moist (place the tooth fragment in a jar or Ziploc bag filled with either milk, water or saliva). Your child’s pediatric dentist will determine how best to proceed.
What should I do if my child has tooth pain?
Don’t wait! Call your child’s pediatric dentist so that your child can be examined to determine the source of the pain. This is especially important if you have never taken your child to see a dentist given that the tooth ache/pain can be due to an infection brought about by dental cavities. If the pain is severe, you may choose to give your child over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Motrin (be sure to follow the directions on the back of the bottle to determine proper dosing based on your child’s weight and age), however, if an infection is present, then your child may need an antibiotic to help manage their symptoms (e.g., pain, swelling, and pus) until further treatment can be completed.
What can I do to help prevent dental injuries from occurring to my child?
The best way to minimize or stop injuries is to prevent them. If your child plays any sports, be sure to get them a mouth guard. If your child is very young, be sure to use a car seat (and make sure older children wear their seat belts) when you’re driving. Lastly, be sure to childproof your home. Additionally, if in doubt, talk to your child’s pediatric dentist about additional tips that can help prevent or minimize dental injuries from occurring to your child.