Pediatric Dental Emergencies

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Children are wonderfully curious, and their curiosity helps them to learn about the world around them. However, curiosity can also lead to accidents on occasion, sometimes even emergencies. If your child experiences an urgent oral care situation, our extensively trained pediatric dentists are available to help address a wide range of common concerns. Not all incidents require a trip to the dentist, however. Contact us immediately when there is an emergency and we can determine if an appointment is warranted, or if not, walk you through how to correct the problem from home. Some of the common injuries and issues we can help with are:

Bitten Lip or Tongue

Although it can be quite painful, a bitten lip or tongue is usually not too serious. If you notice bleeding, clean the area gently with clean water and apply a cold, wet washcloth or towel to the area (cold compress) to minimize swelling. Call us and we will review the severity of the bite and determine the next steps.

If your child was given local anesthesia (Novocaine) for a dental procedure, please keep a watchful eye on them to be sure they aren’t chewing on or playing with numb lips and cheeks as injuries could occur.

Object Caught in Teeth

Never use a metal, plastic, or sharp object to try and clear an object from between your child’s teeth. Try using floss to gently remove the item. If you are unable to succeed, call us and we can discuss what to do.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

Place a cold compress (as illustrated in the “bitten lip or tongue” section) on the area where the chip or tooth fracture is discovered to reduce swelling. If you find a piece of the tooth, rinse it with clean water and keep it handy. Call us and we will schedule you to come in.

Knocked-out Tooth

Find the tooth, rinse it with clean water only (no soap), and place it in a container with milk, if possible. Make sure you only touch the top (the crown, the part you can see when it’s in place) of the tooth. Call us immediately to address the issue or head to the hospital. The faster the tooth is attended to the better the chances of saving it.

Loose Tooth

Notice a very loose tooth due to normal development? Remove the dangling tooth so there is no risk of the child swallowing or choking on it when it comes free. If you notice a wiggly tooth that shouldn’t be loose, call us to schedule an appointment to check it out.


A common complaint that can be caused by a number of issues, a toothache can usually be addressed at an office visit. If your child complains of a toothache, rinse the mouth with water and check to make sure there is nothing physically hurting the tooth or surrounding tissue (a chip, loose tooth, injury, or an object lodged between teeth, for instance). If the pain continues, try a cold compress—but do not apply heat or a topical pain reliever directly to the affected area. Oral pain relievers for children should be fine. Call us and schedule an appointment right away.

Broken Jaw

If you believe your child may have a broken jaw, you should head to the hospital immediately. Most broken jaws occur from a blow to the head, and head injuries can be very dangerous and even life-threatening.

Avoiding Injury

Need ideas to help limit the risk of dental emergencies? We’re here to help. In addition to properly baby-proofing your home, we can recommend other simple ways to preserve the health and safety of your children’s mouths. Children should not chew on ice, popcorn kernels, and hard foods or objects. If your kids play sports, make sure they wear appropriate gear, including mouthguards, as needed. And, of course, make sure everyone in the family brushes and flosses daily.

Have a question about something you saw here, or have another issue not addressed? Contact our practice for additional information about our emergency services.