What to Do if Your Child Experiences a Dental Emergency
A dental emergency can be a rather scary and stressful experience for children and, of course, for their parents as well. However, knowing the steps to take in case of a dental emergency can help you as a parent to stay calm, collected, and capable of protecting your child’s oral health.
In this article, our Waterloo emergency dentist will go over six of the most common dental emergencies children experience, in addition to providing management tips to aid in preventing further damage, minimizing discomfort, and helping to ensure the best outcome for your child and their smile.
Common Reasons Your Child May Need to See An Emergency Dentist
There are several common reasons why a child may be required to visit an emergency dentist, including the following:
1. Prematurely loose primary (baby) tooth
Your child’s primary or baby teeth will begin to loosen naturally, starting around age five. Eventually, it will fall out entirely. However, there is always a chance for a baby tooth or teeth to become prematurely loose, usually due to trauma or injury.
In this case, seeing an emergency or kids-only dentist, such as our Waterloo emergency dentist, is essential to assess the tooth roots via an X-ray. In other cases, if extremely loose, the tooth may need to be pulled to prevent the risk of choking.
2. Knocked out primary (baby) tooth
Fortunately, it’s usually not a significant cause for concern if your child experiences a knocked-out baby tooth. A child’s primary teeth generally contain shallow roots and present a lower risk of permanent damage.
Moreover, the older the child experiencing a knocked-out baby tooth is, the lower the probability that you will need professional intervention. However, you should prioritize locating the baby tooth after it has been knocked out to prevent any potential choking hazards.
3. Knocked out permanent (adult) tooth
In the case of your child experiencing a knocked-out permanent (adult) tooth, time is of the essence, and you’ll need to act fast. First, pick up the knocked tooth by the chewing surface (crown) of the tooth, not its root, and rinse it under water or in milk if it is dirty.
You’ll then need to keep the tooth in milk or a saline solution (salted water) to keep it moist and prevent drying.
Call your nearest emergency dentist to schedule an immediate appointment so your child can receive prompt care, which will be necessary for a successful tooth restoration.
4. Chipped or cracked tooth
Experiencing a chip or crack in the tooth happens quite commonly in children. It’s essential in these cases to ensure your child remains calm, and if any pieces of the tooth are broken off, pay close attention to their breathing to ensure they don’t start to choke.
You should then call your nearest emergency dentist to explain the events of your child’s tooth accident and follow any instructions provided.
5. Severe, sudden and/or persistent tooth pain
A toothache that comes on suddenly or persists is a dental emergency, as it may indicate severe tooth decay/cavities, a broken or fractured tooth, or other issues requiring prompt intervention.
Experts advise taking your child to the dentist as soon as possible if they experience this degree of tooth pain and help them manage their discomfort in the meantime with over-the-counter pain relievers.
6. Mouth swelling and/or bleeding
Suppose your child is experiencing any swelling or bleeding in the mouth, especially if this presents with a swollen face and/or a boil on the gum. In that case, your child should be seen immediately by the nearest emergency dentist.
These symptoms are generally indications of trauma or infection that will need to be promptly addressed by a professional.
Helping your child avoid dental emergencies and accidents
While accidents aren’t always completely preventable, there are still several measures that parents can take to help keep their child’s smile free of injury.
Steps you can take include the following:
- Ensuring your child wears a mouth guard/ custom sports guard during any competitive sport or higher-risk physical activity
- Avoiding supplying any hard candies or hard foods to your child
- Teaching your child to refrain from putting any hard objects or toys in their mouth, as well as teaching them to refrain from using their teeth as tools (such as to open caps or cut/rip things open)
- Eliminating any potential tripping hazards in the home
- Being sure to bring your child to the dentist routinely (ideally every six months) for a check-up and cleaning, which will play a role in helping to prevent problems in the future
Reach Out to Our Kids-Only and Emergency Dentist Today
If your child is ever to experience an unexpected dental accident or injury, don’t fret. Our Waterloo emergency dentist is here to provide the prompt dental care your child needs for a healthy, restored, and pain-free smile.