What is a Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency is when a child has swelling or pain in the mouth or face. If these conditions exist, it is important for your child to be seen by a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. For other dental conditions, it is best to schedule an appointment so that your child can be properly evaluated.
What do I do if my Child has a Dental Emergency?
If your child’s dental emergency occurs during business hours please call our office at (650) 394-4200 and we will try to see the child immediately. After scheduled office hours, please call the office and the emergency answering machine will provide you the mobile number for Dr. Purvi Zavery.
If you are unable to speak with a pediatric dentist within 30 minutes, please go to a hospital’s emergency department. It is important to get an evaluation from our pediatric dentist as soon as possible. If your child has intra oral pain, please call our office when your child first complains of a toothache so we can try schedule an appointment as convenient to your schedule as possible. If ignored, dental pain could lead to serious problems. Do not wait too long!
There are a few things a parent can do to evaluate the emergency and make your child more comfortable.
The first thing to remember is to stay calm. Injuries to the mouth, face and teeth happen frequently in children. Remaining calm and taking prompt action will help minimize the damaging effects of the injury, and lessen your child’s discomfort.
Second, assess whether or not you child’s injury involved hitting the head causing them to lose consciousness even for a brief moment. If this is the case, your child should see a physician immediately. Worry about the mouth and teeth later.
Third, try to stop any bleeding with a clean washcloth or gauze. As you do this, check for broken teeth and/or missing teeth. If there are missing teeth, look for them.
For future reference you should also download the First Aid for Dental Emergencies document.
Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth: Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Gently clean or rinse dirt from the area around the break. Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to the dentist.
Chipped or Fractured Baby Tooth: Contact your pediatric dentist.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth:
If possible, find the tooth. Handle the tooth it by the crown, not by the root. If the tooth is dirty, gently 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 a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth (beside the cheek). The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
Knocked Out Primary (Baby) Tooth:
Contact your pediatric dentist during business hours. This is not usually an emergency, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary.
Clean the area around the tooth. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water and use dental floss to remove any trapped food between the teeth. NOT place aspirin on the gums or tooth. This will cause a burn to the gum tissues. If there is swelling, apply cold to the outside of the face. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. Call the dentist.
Bitten Tongue or Lip or cheek:
If there is bleeding apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or gauze. Apply an ice compress to the injured area. If bleeding does not stop, go to a hospital emergency room.
Possible Broken Jaw:
Do not move the jaw. Stabilize the jaw by tying a towel, necktie, etc., over the top of the head. Apply cold compresses. Go to an oral surgeon or hospital emergency room IMMEDIATELY.
Objects Caught between the Teeth:
Try to remove the object with dental floss. You may tie one or two small knots in the floss to help remove the debris. Do not use a sharp metal object. If you cannot re move it, go to the dentist.
Bleeding After a Baby Tooth Falls Out:
Fold a gauze pad or clean washcloth over the bleeding area. it in place for 15 minutes, then repeat as necessary.
Some children will get these periodically. Placing vitamin E oil over the area, or other over the counter medications will usually give relief. If they persist or are extreme, see the pediatric dentist.
If there is a loose bracket that is irritating the lips or gums, attempt to remove the bracket with a tweezers and place it in an envelope.
If there is a loose wire sticking into he cheek, see if you can place it into the tube in the back of mouth. If you can’t and you cannot get to the office, cut the end of the wire with a cuticle nipper.
Finally, check to make sure your child’s dentist is available for emergencies ahead of time. Keep his or her phone number handy and make it known to your baby-sitters, pediatrician, and your child’s school nurse. You don’t want to be looking through a phone book during those stressful moments!
What do the following have in common?: A bat, A ball, A knee or elbow, A hard surface (such as the ground or the bottom of a swimming pool)
They all are things that could easily come into contact with your child’s mouth when participating in sports. And they all have the potential for damaging or knocking out teeth, or fracturing or dislocating a jaw. High-risk activities include “contact” sports, such as football, boxing, martial arts (including karate and kick-boxing) and hockey, as well as non-contact sports such as basketball, baseball, bicycle riding, roller-blading, soccer, wrestling, racquetball, surfing, and skateboarding.
Even swimming, with all of its gentility, poses serious hazards for your child’s teeth. Common swimming pool accidents occur when children, swimming underwater, quickly ascend to the surface, hitting the hard ledge, and loosening the front tooth. Running on slippery, slick cement and ceramic pool surfaces also can send your child headfirst into the ground, increasing the likelihood of a chipped or loose tooth.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many sports-related emergencies involving teeth can be avoided by following the rules and remembering dental first aid steps. If your child participates in any sports, a Mouth Guard is a smart investment.
Mouth guards are soft plastic devices that fit over the front of your child’s mouth, protecting your child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sports-related injuries. A well-fitting mouth guard can protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face, and even some severe injuries to the head.
Can Dental Injuries be Prevented?
Absolutely! First, reduce oral injury in sports by wearing mouth guards. Second, always use a car seat for young children. Require seat belts for everyone else in the car. Third, child-proof your home to prevent falls, electrical injuries, and choking on small objects. Fourth, protect your child from unnecessary toothaches with regular dental visits and preventive care.
The phone numbers to contact Peninsula Children’s Dentistry for emergency pediatric dental care is (650) 394-4200. An answering message with further contact details is available when calling the office after hours.