Have you ever had that dream where your tooth is loose or completely falls out, then you wake up feeling stressed and exhausted? You’re not alone. Tooth emergencies are a common stress dream for many adults. So when it comes to worrying about your children’s teeth, you can imagine how much more stressful that will feel.
If you’re lucky, the only time your child’s tooth comes out will be when a baby tooth lets go, but the truth is dental emergencies can happen. It’s scary, but with the right dental treatment, your child will be just fine. The important thing is for you to stay calm while you act.
To be ready, here are five child tooth emergencies that require a dental visit and what to expect when they happen.
Toothaches are fairly common but they are rarely without a cause. If your child is complaining that his or her tooth hurts, odds are there is a larger problem at work (such as one of the examples below). Check your child’s mouth for impacted food stuck between teeth and remove it if necessary with a clean finger, floss, or a toothbrush.
A cold compress can be used to help reduce swelling. Call your dentist for further information on how to act next.
2. Knocked-Out Tooth
If your child’s tooth is knocked out, acting quickly is important. With the right precautions, the tooth can be saved and re-implanted (though dentists rarely re-implant a baby tooth). The most successful re-implant cases usually happen within an hour of the tooth coming out, so take your child to an emergency dentist right away.
When picking up the tooth, avoid touching the roots. Only handle it by the crown, and gently rinse off the tooth with water. Keep the tooth wet during transportation, either in milk or saliva for a young child, or by keeping it in an older child’s cheek.
3. Dental Intrusion
If your child is hit hard enough in the teeth, one or more teeth may actually move upward into the jaw. This can damage the tooth’s ligament and possibly even fracture the socket, too.
If this happens, rinse your child’s mouth out with cold water, place ice packs around the affected area to help with swelling, and immediately take your child to your local dentist (if during business hours) or to an emergency room (if after hours).
4. Protruding Tooth
After being hit, a tooth may stick out at a strange angle, protruding from the jaw. It hasn’t become completely loose, but it is definitely not where it should be; it’s partly removed from the socket that holds the tooth. Sometimes, if the child is young enough, the body will heal itself, but in older children with permanent teeth, the concern is infection and damage to the adult tooth.
In either case, take your child to see a dentist right away, so appropriate methods for repairing and saving the tooth can take place.
5. Broken Tooth
Sometimes, the crown of the tooth will break under impact. Your dentist will need to assess the severity of the impact with dental X-rays, but if you notice a change in colour (i.e. pink or yellow tinges in the tooth), take this as a warning sign.
Either way, get them into a dental office immediately. While you wait, rinse your child’s mouth out with warm water, place a cold compress on the area, and pack the tooth with wet paper towel (being careful not to do more damage).
Tooth emergencies are frightening, especially when they happen to your children, but with a cool head and quick action, you can preserve your child’s dental health. Take the appropriate precautions, prepare for possible emergencies, and your children will be all right.