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Handling Dental Emergencies

Young girl suffering from tooth pain

Go to the dentist right away. It’s best for your child to see a dentist within 30 minutes. Don’t forget to bring the tooth and any tooth pieces you can find!

Baby tooth (primary) – It’s normal for children to lose baby teeth, but an accident that damages a primary tooth could also harm the permanent tooth underneath it.

  • If a tooth is completely out, do not try to put it back into the tooth socket.
  • Bring your child and the tooth and/or any piece of the tooth with you to the dentist.

Adult tooth (Permanent)- Unlike a baby tooth that is knocked out, an adult tooth should be put back into its socket (if possible).

  • Hold the tooth by the top and not by the root.
  • If it looks dirty, rinse the root briefly with water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached bits of tissue.
  • Try to gently insert the tooth into its socket then hold it there with a clean washcloth or gauze pad. If this isn’t possible, try these options in this order:
    1. See if your child can hold the tooth under their tongue or between the cheek and gums.
    2. Put the tooth in a container with milk, saliva, saline (salt) solution, or an emergency tooth preservation kit.
    3. If none of those liquids are available, put the tooth in water.

Go to the dentist right away and bring the broken tooth piece with you (if possible).

  • Rinse the mouth with warm water to keep the area clean.
  • If you can find the broken tooth piece, wrap it in some wet gauze or a wet towel.
  • Put a cold compress (ice pack or washcloth with ice wrapped inside) on the face to reduce swelling.
  • Clean the area gently with a cloth and place a cold compress over the area (if possible) to keep the swelling down.
  • If there is a lot of bleeding, or it doesn’t stop after 1-2 hours, take your child to their dentist or physician, or to an urgent care center.
  • Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.
  • Gently try to remove the object with dental floss.
  • If floss doesn’t work, take your child to their dentist.

Swelling of the face can be a sign of a serious infection. If your child’s face is swollen, take your child to their dentist or physician.

  • Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out.
  • Give your child what you would normally give them for pain, but do not put aspirin directly on the aching tooth or gums.

Apply a cold compress to control swelling. Take your child to the dentist or an urgent care center right away.