respond child dental emergencies

How to Respond to Child Dental Emergencies

Being a parent means being prepared for the unexpected, and the dental world is no exception. While we all hope our kids keep their mouths safe and protected at all times, the reality is that it’s always possible for them to deal with temporary or long-running issues that cause pain and other oral concerns.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dental services include everything from basic cleanings to fluoride treatments, sedation treatments and many others. In addition, we’re always on-hand to help you respond to a dental emergency that’s arisen for your child. Let’s look at some common examples of issues that might or might not qualify as an emergency, plus how to respond if they appear in your child.

Basic Toothache

Toothaches can happen to anyone regardless of their age, though they tend to be most common in children. Whether they’re considered a dental emergency depends mostly on how long they last.

If your child complains of toothache pain, treat it by cleaning the affected area with warm water and flossing nearby to remove any debris. In most cases, this will solve the problem within 24 hours or so. If the issue persists or worsens into upcoming days, however, call our offices and schedule an appointment to assess the issue.

Teeth Knocked Out

If one or more of your child’s teeth is knocked out, how you’ll respond will depend on what kind of tooth it is:

  • Baby tooth: Baby teeth should not be replaced in the mouth, as they might damage developing permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is knocked out in an unnatural way, call our offices for assistance.
  • Permanent tooth: Adult teeth, on the other hand, can be replaced if they are knocked out. If possible, find the tooth and rinse it with clean water – no soap. Handle the tooth only by the crown, and store it in a plastic bag or a cup full of milk (not water). Schedule an appointment at our offices and bring the tooth with you to be reinserted.

Chipping or Fracturing

If your child’s tooth is chipped, fracture or otherwise partially broken, timing is a very important concern. As quickly as possible, have your child rinse their mouth with water to limit infection risk. At the same time, call our offices to schedule an appointment, to which you should bring any pieces of the fractured tooth you can find.


In cases where an impact or oral damage concern causes a cut or bleeding in your child’s mouth, first rinse it out with cool, clean water. Then apply a gauze or cloth. There’s no need to go the emergency room or doctor unless the bleeding cannot be controlled.

Head Trauma

Finally, if oral damage to your child also involves a significant head trauma or injury, it’s vital to call 911 right away and get them to a hospital or emergency room. While their dental care needs are important here, the first step must always be to check for concussions and serious head risks in these cases.

For more on how to respond to various child dental emergencies, or to learn about any of our services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.