Most Common Reasons Kids Need an Emergency Dentist
Knocked Out Primary Tooth (Baby)
There is usually no need to panic if your child knocks out a baby tooth. Of course, if this comes with serious trauma, it is crucial to rule out concussions or serious injuries to the head. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or your local hospital emergency room immediately.
Baby teeth typically have shallow roots and less chance of permanent damage if the tooth is knocked out. The older the child is (ie. the closer they are to naturally losing the baby tooth) the less likely there will be need for intervention. Regardless of your child’s age, if an accident happens it is important to bring your child to our local emergency dentist as soon as possible. There may be damage to adjacent teeth that, while not visible to the eye, can become very clear with an x-ray.
If possible, try to find the baby tooth after it is knocked out. This is primarily to rule out any possible choking hazards. Reimplantation of baby teeth is typically not needed but our children’s dentist will still like to look at the tooth if possible.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth (Adult)
First and foremost, it is once again crucial to rule out more serious injuries such as a concussion. If there is a medical emergency, call 911 or visit your local hospital emergency room.
In order to save the knocked out tooth, you need to act quickly. As the parent, you should be the one to pick up the knocked out tooth by the crown (chewing surface and not the root) and rinse the tooth with water or milk if dirty. Keep the tooth moist in a container of milk or saline solution (salted water) to keep it from drying out. It is important to keep the tooth moist and call our Keswick Kids Dental clinic immediately (905-476-2800).
Ideally our local emergency dentist would like to see your child within one hour of the accident. Throughout the process, remember to be sensitive to your child as a knocked-out tooth is painful since it affects the nerves, supporting tissues, and blood vessels.
Loose Baby Tooth
Your child’s baby teeth will naturally start to loosen and eventually fall out around the age of five. However, if injury or trauma causes a baby tooth to become loose prematurely it is important to see our emergency dentist as soon as possible. Most of the time we will take an x-ray to assess the roots. In some cases, we may recommend a soft diet to allow the tooth to reimplant. In other cases, where the tooth is very loose, we may recommend pulling the tooth in order to prevent any possible choking hazards.
Cracked or Chipped Tooth
A chipped or cracked baby tooth is a fairly common occurrence. Keep your child calm and ensure that they are okay. If there are fragments of the tooth missing that you cannot find, pay special attention to your child’s breathing to ensure they are not choking. Next, call our dental office to explain the situation and follow any instructions our emergency dentist may give you.
In many cases your child may not even notice that they have chipped their tooth. As you help your child brush and floss, watch for any teeth turning grey or infected gums, which can be signs of chipped or cracked teeth. Your child may also complain of discomfort and sensitivity to hot or cold foods and liquids.
Severe Tooth Pain and Toothaches
Toothaches and pain in the mouth are common for many children (especially when they are young) and can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Tooth decay
- Plaque buildup
- New teeth coming in
- Broken teeth
- Food trapped between teeth
- Other unrelated causes
There are several steps you can take to try to alleviate and stop the pain before calling your local emergency dentist.
If your child is old enough, ask them questions about where it hurts, how long it has been hurting, how great the pain is, and so on. If your child is younger, try to look in their mouth for swelling, redness, discoloration, or broken teeth. Help your child to floss their teeth well to get rid of any possible food or debris trapped between the teeth and rinse their mouth with warm salt water. For pain relief, you can offer a cold compress for their outer cheek near the painful area or try children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
If pain persists for several days despite your best efforts to help alleviate the pain, it could be a more serious problem such as a cavity. Call our paediatric dentists at 905-476-2800 to book an emergency dental appointment. We will help pinpoint the problem and offer a solution to treat the cause of the pain.
Other Dental Emergency Services
Your child may be susceptible to other common dental emergencies such as lodged foreign substances, abscessed teeth, and soft tissue injury. If you are unsure of what to do, it is best to book a dental appointment or call our dental office and speak with our friendly staff. We do everything we can to save the tooth and avoid child tooth extraction. No concern or question is too small for us – we are more than happy to help. That’s why we are here!
Our Emergency Dentist Suggests These Precautions
Accidents happen but there are several measures that you can take to avoid injury to your child’s teeth or the need to see your local emergency dentist:
- Have your child wear a custom sports mouth guard when participating in any sport that may put them at risk of injury to the mouth (as recommended by the Canadian Dental Association).
- Teach your child that they should never use their teeth to cut, rip, or open things – have them use scissors if they are old enough or help them open items if they are quite young.
- Remove any tripping hazards in your home and use gates on stairways to keep young children away from dangerous areas.
- Discourage children from putting objects in their mouth such as hard toys or pencils. If children are young, it is important to not allow them to walk around with toys in their mouth.
- Reduce consumption of hard candy or food that could crack teeth.
- Make sure you bring your child to the dentist for a dental examination every 6 months to ensure that their teeth and mouth are healthy, strong and developing properly.