Dental emergencies

  • Toothache: Clean the area of the affected tooth. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge any food that may be impacted. If pain persists, contact your child's dentist. Do not place aspirin or heat on the gum or on the aching tooth. If your child's face is swollen, apply cold compresses and contact your dentist immediately.
  • Cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek: Apply ice to injured areas to help control swelling. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If simple pressure doesn't control the bleeding, call a doctor or visit the hospital emergency room.
  • Knocked-out permanent tooth: If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown, not by the root. You may 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 piece of 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 baby tooth: Contact your pediatric dentist. This is usually not an emergency and, in most cases, does not require treatment.
  • 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. 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. This is usually not an emergency.
  • Possible broken or fractured jaw: Prevent the jaw from moving and take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.