What Is Considered a Pediatric Dental Emergency?

Did you know that 43 percent of people aged 2 or older have visited the dentist in the past 12 months?

Visiting the dentist is vital, especially for kids. Unfortunately, pediatric dental emergencies happen and you need to be ready for them when they occur. Whether it involves baby teeth or permanent teeth, dental accidents with children are common.

The best thing you can do is educate yourself on what to do for each type of pediatric dental emergency so that you know what to do and where to go.

Continue reading to learn more about different pediatric dental emergencies and how to handle them.

Cut or Bitten Tongue or Lip

Accidentally chomping down on your tongue or your lip is a painful experience, though it won’t result in a trip to the emergency room. If this happens to your child, the best approach to take is to stay calm.

The first thing to do is clean the area thoroughly with water and apply a cold compress or ice pack to prevent swelling. If there is any blood, use a gauze pad to apply light pressure and clean up the blood.

If it doesn’t get better from these steps, it is a good idea to contact your pediatric dentist and schedule an emergency appointment.

Permanent Tooth Knocked Out

Permanent teeth come in at different rates. If your child has had some of their permanent teeth come in and one or more is knocked out in an accident, this is definitely a dental emergency.

The first step is to check your child for any other severe injuries like head trauma. If head trauma is present, call 911.

If there is no head trauma and you’re able to locate the tooth, then you’ll want to handle it by the crown rather than the root. You also need to do everything you can to keep the tooth moist until you get to the dentist.

If you’re able to place it back in the socket, have your child bite down on a piece of gauze to keep the tooth in place until you arrive at the dentist. If this isn’t possible, place the tooth in a container of milk and visit your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Broken or Fractured Jaw

If you think that your child might have a broken or fractured jaw, this is a definite dental emergency. The best approach is to handle the situation with extreme caution and gentleness.

Start by applying a cold compress to the afflicted area to control the swelling and to keep the jaw in place. From there, call your pediatric dentist and schedule an emergency appointment.

Severe Toothaches

Toothaches are difficult because they have a wide range of severity and can be a sign of both minor issues and more complicated issues. Some toothaches are a result of food stuck between two teeth.

If your child complains of having a toothache, first have them wash their mouth out by rinsing. Then examine their mouth for any food that is stuck and remove it with dental floss.

If you don’t find any stuck food and the toothache persists, it might be caused by a cavity or an abscess. If this is the case, you need to get in contact with your dentist for an emergency dental visit.

Increased Tooth Sensitivity

Does your child suddenly have increased sensitivity to foods that are hot or cold? There are a bunch of reasons why this is happening. Some are more severe, like cavities, so it is best to get this checked out by a clinic that focuses on dentistry for kids.

The best approach to take in this scenario is to schedule an emergency visit to the pediatric dentist and get this checked out. They will provide an examination and get to the bottom of the cause for the tooth sensitivity so that they can treat it.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is an infection that occurs inside of the root of a tooth. It is a painful experience that creates a pocket of pus. If this goes untreated, it leads to severe dental issues. Some of those issues are:

  • A severe and persistent toothache
  • Heightened tooth sensitivity
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting
  • Swelling of the face
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw
  • Difficulties with breathing

It is crucial for your child’s oral health that they get a professional dental evaluation from a pediatric dentist if they are suffering from any of these symptoms.

A pediatric dentist will exam the teeth and determine what caused the dental abscess. From there, the dentist will begin taking steps for treatment.

Note that if your child is suffering from difficulties breathing, facial swelling, or fever, that you should take them to the emergency room immediately.

Lost or Loose Fillings

If you have children that have fillings, it is important to be aware that these fillings can come loose over time. According to the ADA, fillings fall out because of increased pressure when chewing or eating. Clenching your jaw also causes them to become dislodged.

If this happens, the best approach is to schedule a pediatric dental emergency appointment as soon as you can. When a filling falls out, it leaves the inside of your tooth exposed and vulnerable to infection and decay.

It is important for the oral health of your child to get them to the dentist for an appointment to get the filling replaced as soon as is possible.

Are You Prepared For a Pediatric Dental Emergency?

A big part of parenting is being reading for anything and everything. This includes being prepared for a pediatric dental emergency. Whether it is a lost permanent tooth, a tooth abscess, or even a lost filling, it is important to be ready.

Knowing what qualifies as a dental emergency and how to handle it plays a big role in keeping your child safe and healthy.

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