For The Oops, Dings, Bumps, And Ouchies In Life.
Southwest Kids Dentistry understands that not all things in life are planned, including dental emergencies. If you ever feel your child's life is in danger or has other medical emergencies, please contact emergency medical services or medical assistance immediately. The following information is for informational purposes only and should not replace a visit to the dentist for evaluation.
Dental emergencies can vary in severity from non-urgent, urgent, to emergent.
See the list below of common situations to determine your child's needs and contact your dentist as soon as possible if you sense your child is in need. We respond to patients of record for after hours concerns.
Emergent Dental Needs
Teeth can be avulsed or fall out completely as a result of trauma or sports-related injury. If a baby tooth has been avulsed, do not replant it. This can cause trauma to the developing adult tooth. If an adult tooth has been completely avulsed, try to locate the tooth. If it is clean (such as a fall on a basketbal court), you may elect to reposition in the mouth as long as the child is not at risk for swallowing the tooth. Do not touch the tooth root, and always handle the tooth from the crown portion only.
If you do not feel comfortable with this option, place the tooth in an appropriate storage medium such as milk, coconut water, or spit and call your dentist for immediate replantation. The time out of the mouth is one of the most important factors for long-term prognosis and this situation is considered a true dental emergency. If you feel your child has any other head injuries or has sustained loss of consciousness, seek immediate medical attention and store the tooth in an appropriate medium. Let the hospital know of the tooth so that a member of the dental team can also coordinate with medical care.
Teeth can be displaced as a result of trauma or sports-related injuries. If the tooth has been displaced, contact your dentist right away so that it can be properly evaluated, repositioned, or definitive care delivered. Do not reposition a baby tooth by yourself as you may cause damage to the developing permanent tooth.
Does your child have a swelling by his or her tooth or facial swelling that is noticeable from the outside of the mouth? Often this is a sign of oral infection and is often accompanied by pain. Facial swelling is a sign of a true dental emergency and should not wait until morning. If facial swelling is causing your child a problem with breathing, call emergency medical services immediately.
Urgent Dental Needs
Tooth Fractures/Chipped Tooth
There is a wide variety of tooth fractures that can occur as a result of injury or trauma. If the tooth is chipped in the white part (or yellow part) only, keeping your child comfortable until you can seek care at a dentist is the goal. If the tooth is chipped to the tooth nerve, a red spot or blood may emerge from the center of the tooth. Seek care at the dentist as soon as possible.
If you can locate the fractured segment of the tooth, bring it with you to your child's visit stored in milk, coconut water, or spit.
Tooth senstivity can be a sign of tooth decay in children. Check their mouth for swelling by the gums or signs of redness. Call your dentist for evaluation before symptoms get worse.
Non-Urgent Dental Needs
Teething is a natural process that can be accompanied by some growing pains. Children may experience fussiness and excessive drooling. Typically the discomfort subsides as the tooth erupts into the mouth. Commonly we expect this with young children ages 6 months to 3 years, but can also happen as the child's 6-year or 12-year molars erupt as well. Management can include distraction and using a frozen washcloth or teething ring for comfort. Keeping the area clean with brushing will also help minimize discomfort. Talk to your dentist about other options for pain relief. Avoid the use of topical pain killers as excess application may result in toxicity in babies and young children.
Loose Baby Tooth
Children typically lose their first baby tooth around 6-7 years of age and lose their last baby tooth around 12-13 years of age. The teeth feel "wiggly" and the child should be encouraged to "wiggle" their own baby teeth as they become loose to promote the proper alignment of adult teeth as they emerge through the gums.