Pediatric Dental Emergency

Advice for pediatric dental emergenciesPediatric dental accidents happen, especially with active children. Knowing what to do in the event of a dental accident as parents is crucial to saving your child’s tooth. Our office reserves specific times each day for treatment of patients with dental emergencies. Please call us immediately for convenient scheduling during an emergency. If you have a dental emergency after business hours, call the office for instructions to reach the dentist on call.

Preventing Pediatric Dental Accidents

As parents, there are numerous precautions that you can take to avoid accidents and injuries to your child’s teeth. One way to reduce the chances of damage to your child’s teeth, lips, mouth, cheeks, and tongue is to:

  • Have your child wear a mouth guard when participating in sports, games or recreational activities.
  • Have your child avoid chewing ice cubes, hard food like popcorn kernels and candy, which can easily crack a child’s tooth or fillings.

How to Treat Common Pediatric Dental Emergencies

If your child has a dental emergency, try to remain calm and collected to be able to quickly determine if there has been any injury to their head, neck or any broken bones. If your child is in a lot of pain or may have lost consciousness for even a short time, bring them to a hospital emergency room immediately for proper evaluation. Below are a list of concrete actions you can take in the event of common pediatric dental emergencies:


  • Thoroughly clean the area around the tooth using a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Rinse the mouth with water, remove any trapped food between the teeth with a dental floss.
  • Apply cold compress to the affected area if there is swelling.
  • Do not apply heat or place aspirin on the sore gum or tooth as this can burn the gum tissues.
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for pain and call our office immediately to make arrangements for evaluation.

Loose or Broken Braces, Wires or Appliances

  • If loose or broken appliances, brackets or wires are not causing discomfort for the child, it usually does not require emergency attention.
  • Broken appliance, bracket or wire can be easily removed using clean fingers or a clean tweezers to take it out of the mouth.
  • If it cannot be easily removed, cover any sharp edges with orthodontic wax provided by your child’s pediatric dentist. Alternatively, you can use clean cotton balls, gauze or even chewing gum if wax is unavailable
  • If a wire has stuck or has pierced the gums, cheeks or tongue, take your child to his pediatric dentist immediately or the nearest emergency room. Do not attempt to remove it.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

  • Contact a pediatric dentist immediately to save the tooth, prevent infection, and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment that may arise if left unattended.
  • Gently rinse dirt from the area around the break and apply cold compress to reduce swelling in the affected area.
  • Locate and save any tooth fragments, keep it clean and moist, and call our office to make arrangements for evaluation.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek

  • Apply cold compress to the injured area.
  • If there is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or gauze.
  • If bleeding persists after 15 minutes of applying pressure, take your child to the nearest emergency rooml

Knocked Out Baby Tooth

  • Contact your child’s pediatric dentist right away for quick treatment to avoid your child’s discomfort and prevent any infection.
  • Rinse the mouth with cold water and apply cold compress to prevent swelling
  • If there is bleeding, place a clean gauze pad or cloth over the affected area. Keep it in place with gentle pressure for 15 minutes  and repeat if necessary,
  • If bleeding persists, contact our office immediately or go to the nearest emergency room if you’re unable to reach our office.
  • Don’t worry about saving the tooth because baby or primary teeth are not replanted as they can potentially damage your child’s developing teeth.
  • In some cases, the pediatric dentist may need to use an appliance to temporarily replace the missing tooth.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

  • Find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water, without scrubbing or using soap.
  • Handle the tooth by the top (crown) portion. Do not touch the tooth’s root portion.
  • Replace the tooth in the socket and ask your child to keep it in place by biting down on a clean gauze or cloth.
  • If you are unable to re-insert the tooth, place the tooth in a clean container, preferably soaked in cold milk or water, and transport.
  • Take the child and the tooth to the pediatric dental office or the nearest emergency room immediately as time is a critical factor in saving the tooth. Call the emergency number for your child’s pediatric dentist if it’s after hours.

For pediatric dental emergency, please call West Roxbury Smiles at 617.327.4321 immediately.

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