When your teeth start hurting, it can be really painful and difficult. When kids’ teeth begin to cause pain, it can cause the entire house stress and heartbreak because they will let you know vocally and frequently that they hurt.
The hard part for people who aren’t professionals is to know when something can wait for a regular dentist, or when it’s an emergency situation. Sometimes dental emergencies happen over the weekend and you need to find a Sunday dentist for your little one.
Here are the most common dental emergencies that parents will need to be able to recognize. These situations will not be able to wait until your dentist opens on Monday. If any of these happen, seek help right away because waiting can make everything worse.
If a tooth has been completely knocked out of a child’s mouth, then you need to seek care immediately. Try to find the missing tooth and clean it, but never touch the roots of the tooth. Time is of the essence when it comes to tooth re-implantation, and you may be able to save the tooth if you act quickly.
If your child lost one of their baby teeth, they won’t reinsert it because it’s more dangerous to do so. The re-implantation procedure can actually damage the tooth bud, which could cause problems with the emerging permanent tooth.
If your child loses a permanent tooth, then try to recover it and seek emergency dental care immediately so that the tooth can be saved. Only touch the tooth by the crown when you pick it back up. Gently rinse off debris with water, but don’t scrape or scrub it.
If your child is older, insert it into the original socket with some gentle pressure or have your child put it back in. For younger kids, put the tooth in a glass of milk or saliva instead to avoid the risk of them choking on their teeth while you get to the dentist.
Moisture is crucial, so keep the missing tooth wet at all times as you go towards your dentist. Without moisture to the tooth, it is unlikely that you can successfully re-implant it.
When teeth become displaced, it can seem like a real emergency. Smiles are a big part of every child’s self-esteem, so anything that looks weird or out of place can affect them emotionally.
Not all displaced teeth are true emergencies, though. It is important to know the difference. In young children, a tooth that has become partly removed from its socket tends to heal on its own and doesn’t need medical treatment.
However, if your permanent tooth is what gets displaced, medical treatment will be necessary to save the tooth and prevent an infection from occurring. Contact a dentist if you suspect displacement.
In some major cases, the tooth can end up angled in a major way after a trauma. Sometimes, the tooth will remain in the socket with the pulp intact, but it will protrude at an unnatural angle. This can mean that the jawbone has become broken.
If you think your child’s jaw may be broken, then apply a cold compress to control the swelling. You should immediately go to your child’s dentist, or find a weekend dentist. If neither option is available, go to the hospital’s emergency department immediately.
Unlike normal toothache pain that may be treatable with a regular dental appointment, abscesses are emergency situations. This is a very painful infection that will start inside the root of your child’s tooth.
If your child is complaining about an unusually bad toothache, check for a fever, swollen gums, or see if they also complain that something in their mouth tastes really bad. Call an emergency dentist immediately if you even suspect that a toothache may be an abscess because that infection can quickly spread to other areas of the body if it goes untreated.
What to Do in an Emergency Situation
If you suspect that your child’s dental pain is an actual emergency, then take the following steps to help them.
First, review the situation. Was the problem caused by some form of trauma or did it just decide to start hurting without any type of impact occurring? If it was trauma or an accident, does your child have other injuries?
Next, you need to remember to comfort and reassure your child. They are scared, too, and they are also in a lot of pain. Many children respond to their parents. If you are panicked and emotional, it will cause them to become even more afraid. Stay calm and let them know that you are confident and they are going to be okay. Bring some comfort with you to the emergency dentist – such as a teddy bear, blanket, or game.
Relieve the pain. You can offer them some approved over the counter medication to reduce any swelling or throbbing pain. Just remember to follow the recommended dosage and tell any emergency personnel what you gave them, how much you gave them, and what time you gave it to them. Write it down if necessary.
Finally, recover things. If your child’s emergency is a missing tooth or a chipped tooth where some of the tooth is missing, try to find it. It can help the dentist re-implant permanent teeth, and if you can’t find it then it may be an indication that your child swallowed it. If that is the case, they are automatically upgraded to an emergency situation.