Dental Emergencies

What to do if your child has a dental emergency

Unfortunately, children are susceptible to dental emergencies. Whether it’s playing sports, falling off a chair or accidentally getting hit in the face during recess, dental emergencies in children are very common. There are several different types of dental injuries and all require different approaches to care, especially before you and your child make it to the dentist. Follow these tips if your child is faced with a dental emergency:

  1. Fractured or broken tooth – Find the piece of the tooth that broke off and put it in a glass of cold milk or water. Have your child rinse off his or her mouth with warm water to make sure there are no tiny fragments left inside that may injure your child’s mouth. Take your child to the dentist immediately. If your dentist isn’t seeing patients when the accident occurs, they should have an emergency number you can call.


  1. Knocked-out permanent tooth – Find the tooth as quickly as you can, pick it up by the crown and not the roots, and rinse it with cold water. Put pressure on the area to stop any bleeding. The tooth can still be re-implanted within 30 minutes or so, so make sure you preserve it by soaking it in a cup of cold milk or water while you’re en route to your emergency dentist.


  1. A toothache – To ease your child’s pain, have him or her gargle a warm salt water solution. You may also want to take a closer look inside your child’s mouth to see if there’s an object stuck between teeth or if the gums are swollen. Take an over-the counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen. Place a cold compress on the child’s cheek to help reduce pain and swelling. Do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area. Schedule a visit to the dentist the soonest possible time to find out what’s causing the toothache and relieve it at once.


  1. Bitten Tongue or Lip – If you bite your child bites his or her tongue or lip, wash the area gently and place a cold compress on the area to reduce any swelling. If the area is bleeding and won’t stop, head to the nearest hospital emergency room.


Adapted from:,21520’ Accessed September 2018

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