What is a pediatric dental emergency?
Knowing the various types of pediatric oral injuries and the symptoms that could occur which may need emergency dental care can help you stay calm when the situation arises. Expect kids to fall out of balance from time to time and chances are they can get hurt. Any dental injury that can occur will need to be examined by your dentist as soon as possible. Sometimes, it might appear that their condition is ok, but deep inside their mouths, the neighboring teeth may have suffered from trauma and it can only be detected through dental exams. Call a member of our Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics team at Lakewood, CO as soon as possible so we can advise you on how to proceed when an injury has occurred. Below are the common pediatric emergency dental situations and what you can do about it.
Pediatric Dental Emergency Care
Toothache. - The most common concern we get from parents is their kids having toothaches. Toothaches that happen longer than usual should be examined at a dentist’s office. The common cause of toothache is broken teeth, erupting teeth, dental trauma, and tooth decay. Here's what you can do:
- Clean the part that is aching using warm water.
- Do not apply heat to the tooth or at the area around the tooth.
- Check if there is food trapped in the tooth. You can get rid of it with a floss or toothbrush.
- Apply an ice pack to the area that is hurt to reduce swelling and pain.
- Contact our office for additional assistance.
Broken Tooth. - Your quick action can save a tooth. When this occurs, contact Dr. Namrata Hardy DDS as soon as you can to prevent infection and avoid more excessive dental treatment.
- Rinse the mouth with water then apply a cold compress so that the swelling will go down.
- When possible, find and save broken tooth fragments and bring them to you when you visit the dentist.
Dental Concussion. - A concussed tooth means that it has been broken, knocked out, but hasn’t received a good hit. This usually happens in toddlers and dental concussions are normally the cause of temporary or permanent tooth discoloration. When the tooth turns dark or black, it means that it is dying and may require root canal therapy. A dental concussion often doesn’t need an emergency treatment.
Knocked out baby tooth. - This is not considered an emergency and in most cases, treatment is not required. You can contact a pediatric dentist near you to learn more about what you can do about a knocked out baby tooth.
Knocked out a permanent tooth. - If the injury caused the permanent tooth to get knocked out, you need to contact your dentist as soon as possible. Time is critical at this scenario as the faster it is reattached to the mouth, the higher its chance of success. Here's what you can do:
- Find the lost tooth. Once you’ve found it, make sure to not touch the roots. Only touch the crown of the tooth.
- Clean the tooth carefully with water but do not scrub or scrape it.
- It is possible to re-insert the knocked out tooth to its original position by using gentle pressure and keeping it in the mouth against the cheek. If you have younger children, make sure to put the knocked out teeth in saliva or milk. Do not put it back in your child’s mouth as they can accidentally swallow it.
- Make sure the tooth is constantly wet so that your dentist can successfully treat it. Moisture is the key to successful replantation.
- If the dental emergency happens after office hours and you cannot reach any members of our team, take your child to an emergency room immediately to have the tooth. The chances of re-implementation will greatly decrease every hour.
Tooth Displacement. - A tooth that becomes partially displaced from its socket due to an injury should be treated. In young children, the primary teeth will normally heal itself without needing medical treatment. However, the treatment should be important for the permanent teeth that have been displaced to save and prevent infection.
Root Fracture. - A root fracture occurs when there is trauma not noticeable to the naked eye. If there is a root fracture, your dentist will have to confirm it by taking dental x-rays. This can be monitored, and treated, but the success of the treatment will depend on the fracture and level of discomfort. In a worse-case scenario, the tooth may be extracted. Here’s what you can do:
- Place a cold compress on the injured area.
- Administer a pain relief that is approved by your pediatrician.
- Contact us for additional instructions.
Mouth, lip, or tongue laceration. - The trauma to the lips, tongue, and inside of the mouth is common in children. The soft flesh of the lips will be exposed and it will be vulnerable to injuries. Here’s what you can do:
- Clean the injured skin using mild soapy water with a soft clean cloth to dry it off. Use a saltwater rinse to clean the cuts in the mouth.
- If the lip is swollen or bruised, apply a cold compress. If there is bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the area that is bleeding with a clean cloth for at least five minutes. Use a cold compress or ice pack to reduce bleeding, discomfort, and swelling. Wrap the cube of crushed ice in a clean gauze then hold it in the affected area.
Seek immediate care if:
- Bleeding doesn't stop even if you’ve put a cold compress on the area to attempt to stop the bleeding.
- There is a deep cut that crosses between the lip and facial skin.
- The lip is punctured.
- The infection develops after an injury.
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