How to Approach Emergency Dental Care for Kids
Playing around a concrete pool edge, slipping down a slide, chewing on rock candy from the theme park gift shop — summertime is full of risks for dental emergencies when it comes to kids. No one wants to think about their child crying in pain and clutching their mouth, but failing to consider the emergency now could leave you unprepared when something does happen. Follow these steps in case of a dental emergency to minimize pain and get the best results when it comes to healing any damage to the mouth.
Contact the Dentist
First, apply pressure to stop any active bleeding. As soon as your child's bleeding is under control, call your pediatric dentist. If the emergency occurs late at night or on a major holiday, call a local emergency dentist, preferably one that specializes in pediatric care. Taking photos of the damage and sending them to the dentist is the fastest way to figure out if your child needs an emergency appointment or just some home first aid.
Find the Tooth
In the case of a chipped or broken tooth, you need to find as many fragments as you can if it was an adult tooth. Finding an intact fragment or tooth allows the dentist to bond it back into place if it was permanent. There's no need to replace it if it was a baby tooth, but it's still best to make sure all the fragments are out of your child's mouth so they don't damage their other teeth or gums with them. The dentist may still need to reposition the baby teeth to fill in a gap so that the adult teeth aren't affected by the change.
Preparing the Tooth
When you're dealing with a whole tooth or large chip that you can locate, you need to take care of it until you can reach the dentist. Rinse it off with water, but do not use soap or try to scrub it. Insert a whole tooth back into the socket when possible. Teeth that can't be inserted and fragments should be kept in a glass of milk or saliva to keep them from drying out. Water will damage the tooth or fragment, so stick with spit if that's all that is available.
Treat Pain Seriously
Children that are complaining of a toothache or pain in their gums should see a dentist immediately. While you may think that it's just a cavity or growing pains, it could be a serious root fracture or pressure between teeth that is causing serious damage. A child's teeth move rapidly and with great force, so it's always possible for an emergency to pop up when there was no accident or injury to trigger it.
Here at Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we're always happy to help new patients with dental emergencies. Call us immediately if you so much as suspect a serious dental problem and we'll help you decide on the best course of action.