Emergency Kids-Only Dentistry

Dental Emergencies Happen – We Can Help

All of our dentists at each of our three SmileTown locations have the experience and knowledge to treat emergency dental patients. To give our patients and their families in Cambridge, Waterloo, Guelph and surrounding areas an idea of what to expect, we have put together a step-by-step example of a dental emergency that we often see in the office.

Here is the situation: your child has suffered an injury to one (or more) of his or her primary incisors.

The following is what you can expect to happen, plus what may occur to indicate the tooth is more damaged than you first thought.


Swelling/ bleeding is likely to occur with trauma to a primary incisor. If swelling/bleeding is present in gums, your child should be seen in office within a week. However, if your child’s face is swollen, they must be seen in office the same day.



Infection can occur around the affected tooth when there has been some damage to it. If gum boils present with facial swelling, your child must be seen immediately in office.

Dental emergencies Dental infection

If your child’s tooth changes in colour without facial swelling, it is not an emergency and your child can be seen anytime.

Change in colour of the tooth Paediatric dental emergencies


If trauma presents itself as a broken tooth, like pictured below, whether it has moved in or out, it is important for your child to be seen in the office the same day.

Bleeding and swellingBleeding gums


  • Change in colour of the tooth – The tooth (teeth) will probably darken over a period of time, eventually turning quite dark. Usually the colour will be a charcoal grey, although it may be brown, yellow, purple or a lighter colour. Over time your child’s tooth will return to a colour similar to how the tooth appeared before the injury, but not quite as snow white.
  • Looseness – The bone that supports the tooth has been expanded by the injury, which will make the tooth more mobile. As the bone returns to a normal position, the tooth will also become less mobile.
  • Bleeding and swelling – As with any injury, the normal reaction of the injured tissues (in this case, the gums and/or lips) will bleed and/or swell. A cold pack will help decrease that swelling and a warm salt water rinse will promote healing of any cuts.
  • Pain – Fortunately, children do not usually suffer much pain from injuries to teeth (except for the period immediately after the injury). Occasionally there will be pain if the child tries to chew with the injured tooth. As with any injury, the area should be dealt with carefully and as gently as possible to avoid irritating the injury.


  • Change in eating or sleeping habits – If your child’s normal eating patterns change (in particular, if he/she complains when chewing  or drinking something cold) or if your child is not sleeping, another assessment is appropriate
  • Gum boils – This will appear on the gums in the area where the gums and lips meet. Gum boils look like a small blister or pimple on the gums.
  • Increased swelling, looseness or pain – After the incident, if you notice an area in or on the mouth that is becoming more swollen or painful to the touch, please reach out to use right away.

IF IN DOUBT, DON’T HESITATE TO CALL THE OFFICE ABOUT YOUR CHILD. We always prefer to see patients out of caution, rather than he or she not be seen at all. 

SmileTown Waterloo and SmileTown Cambridge: 519-749-9981SmileTown Guelph: 519-822-2273