Dental emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere and can potentially be life-threatening.
Dental emergencies that require urgent care include:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Permanent tooth knocked out
- Broken or cracked tooth/teeth causing pain
- Severe toothache
- Swelling associated with tooth pain
Sports dentistry is the prevention and treatment of dental injuries and related oral diseases, as well as the sharing of information and equipment designed to help protect the teeth, mouth, jaw, and face of athletes of all ages. Injuries to the teeth and mouth are common among athletes. It’s important to protect your child’s smile if he or she plays sports, for aesthetics as well as health reasons.
Common Dental Injuries in Sports
Tooth knocked out:
- Time is the most important factor when trying to save a tooth, so get to your dentist as soon as possible. In general, there is a 30-minute window of opportunity to re-implant the tooth in the socket.
- Do not try to re-implant the tooth yourself.
- The best liquid to transport a tooth in is cold milk. If milk is not available, use saliva (if possible), saline, or if nothing else is available water.
- Don’t let the tooth dry out and don’t wrap it in anything.
- Don’t touch the tooth root if you can avoid it.
- Your dentist will likely use an X-ray of the tooth to determine the treatment necessary.
- For a serious chip that exposes the pulp of the tooth, get to your dentist as soon as possible.
- If a tooth is chipped or cracked, sometimes the tooth can be fixed with a filling or bonding alone.
- Sometimes a tooth is cracked or chipped in a way affecting the nerve of the tooth, and a more complicated treatment may be needed.
- If a tooth is moved due to trauma, see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Do not try to move the tooth back on your own.
- For any mouth discomfort before you get to the dentist, apply ice.
One of the best ways to prevent injury to your child’s teeth and mouth is to have him or she wear a mouthguard while playing sports. There are several types of mouthguards to choose from, and your doctor can help you choose the best one for your child’s particular needs.
Pediatric Dental Emergencies
If your child faces a dental emergency, give us a call immediately. If you need urgent treatment after hours, you can call our emergency number. We are always here to assist when your child’s dental health is at risk. Below are tips on dealing with urgent dental situations. You may want to display this list on your refrigerator or store it near your emergency phone numbers for easy reference.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
If your child has a bitten lip or tongue severe enough to cause bleeding, clean the bite gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling. Give us a call to help determine how serious the bite is.
Object Caught In Teeth
If your child has something caught between his or her teeth, use dental floss to gently remove it. Never use a metal, plastic, or sharp tool to remove a stuck object. If you are unable to remove the item with dental floss, call to schedule an appointment during office hours.
Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of a tooth, rinse his or her mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call us immediately.
If your child’s tooth has been knocked out, find the tooth and rinse it with water (no soap), taking care to only touch the crown of the tooth (the part you can see when it’s in place).
Place the tooth in a clean container with milk. Call us immediately and/or head to the hospital. If you act quickly it’s possible to save the tooth.
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his or her mouth with warm water and inspect the teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. If pain continues, use a cold compress to ease the pain.
Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children’s pain relievers may be taken orally. Schedule an appointment immediately.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Call 911 or head to the hospital immediately. In many cases a broken jaw is the result of a blow to the head. Severe blows to the head can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
You can help your child avoid dental emergencies. Child-proof your house to avoid falls. Don’t let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. Always use car seats for young children and require seat belts for older children.
And if your child plays contact sports, have him or her wear a mouthguard. Ask us about creating a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child. Finally, prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.