It’s easy to become overwhelmed when your child is encountering a dental emergency. The most important thing to do is act quickly and remain calm. No matter what type of urgency is going on, you should get your child to the dentist as soon as possible to resolve the situation. Before you’re able to make it into the office, there are steps you can take to handle the situation. Continue reading to learn what you should do.
A toothache can mean a number of things depending on its severity and the type of pain that is being experienced. This could be an indication of a crack, cavity, teeth grinding, infection, or gum disease. If the pain is severe, call your child’s dentist to make an emergency appointment. Until you can get your child to the office, over-the-counter pain killers like ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Broken or Cracked Tooth
Depending on how severely the tooth has been broken, you will need to get your child to the office as soon as you can. If your child is in a lot of pain, this is a sign that the nerve in the center of the tooth has been exposed or damaged. Often times, this means that a root canal is required to save the tooth. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that more damage could occur. Make an emergency appointment right away.
Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth
If your child has their tooth knocked out entirely, whether that be from playing contact sports or roughhousing, there are some important steps to take in order to save the tooth. The most important thing that you should do is see a dentist as soon as you can. If you can get your child to the dentist within an hour, the chance that the tooth can be saved increases drastically.
When you are handling a dislodged tooth, grab it by the crown, not the root. You don’t want to cause any further damage to the soft tissues that are attached. Carefully rinse the tooth and place it back into the socket if possible. If you are unable to do so, have your child keep the tooth in their cheek or place the tooth into a cup of milk. This helps to keep the nerves moist and alive until it can be put back. Call your child’s dentist immediately and let them know that you are on your way.
As scary as these situations can be, remember to stay calm. Getting to your dental provider quickly is the most important thing you can do to resolve the issue. This summer, consider custom-made mouthguards for your kids and remind your children to keep up with regular brushing and flossing to reduce the chances of dental emergencies.
About the Author
Dr. Joshua A. Holcomb is an emergency dentist serving the Collierville area. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the College of Dentistry, UT Memphis and is committed to completing over 100 hours of continuing education each year. Dr. Holcomb provides emergency care and does everything in his power to treat urgent situations as soon as possible. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (901) 850-0300.