Dental Emergencies

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth. For all dental emergencies, it is important to take your child to the dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.

Toothache

Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge any food that may be impacted. If the pain still exists, contact our office at 336-659-9500. Do not place aspirin or heat on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen, apply cold compresses and contact our office immediately to schedule an appointment. Our doctors will complete and examination to determine the cause of the toothache. If the child is having trouble seeing, breathing, or swallowing due to swelling, take them to the nearest emergency room.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek

Gently clean the area with water. Apply ice wrapped in a washcloth to injured areas to help control swelling. If there is bleeding, apply firm, but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure, call a doctor or visit the hospital emergency room. Eat a soft diet. Avoid spicy and/or citric foods.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

Make sure your child does not have a more serious injury. Remember to call 911 for help if necessary, otherwise, call our office at 336-659-9500. If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown, not by the root. You may rinse the tooth with water only. DO NOT clean with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on gauze or clean cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk, NOT water. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth (inside the cheek). The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Knocked Out Baby Tooth

Contact our office at 336-659-9500. Unlike with a permanent tooth, the baby tooth should not be replanted due to possible damage to the developing permanent tooth.  In most cases, no treatment is necessary.

An example of a chipped tooth, needing emergency treatment.

Chipped/Fractured Permanent Tooth

Time is a critical factor, contact our office immediately so as to reduce the chance for infection or the need for extensive dental treatment in the future. Rinse the mouth with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.  If you can find the broken tooth piece, it may be able to bonded back in place.

Chipped/Fractured Baby Tooth

Contact our office at 336-659-9500.

Severe Blow to the Head

Call 911 immediately or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw

Keep the jaw from moving and take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Object stuck in Child’s Mouth or Teeth

For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. Contact our office at 336-659-9500 or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

How can my child avoid a dental emergency?

There are a number of simple precautions to take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:

  • Have your child wear a mouth guard (and helmet when appropriate) when participating in sports or recreational activities.
  • Instruct your child to use scissors (supervised if a young child) and NEVER his teeth to cut things.
  • Supervise young children and do not let them run around with objects in their mouth (eg. toothbrush, pencils, etc.)
  • Reduce trip hazards in your home and use gates to block stairways and dangerous areas from young children.
  • Visit the dentist every 6 months to make sure your child’s teeth are healthy and strong.