How to Handle a Kid’s Dental Emergency

A group of multiracial children smile after receiving emergency dental care

When a child experiences a dental emergency, it’s common for parents to feel stressed and unsure of what to do. Therefore, we’d like to help guide you through what to do if your child has an urgent dental problem. Read on to learn about what constitutes a dental emergency and a few tips on how to respond in an emergency situation.

Common Dental Emergencies

Common types of urgent dental problems for kids include lost or broken adult teeth, profuse oral bleeding, swelling of the face, a severe toothache, or a lost or broken crown or filling.

The Three A’s: Assess, Act, Ask

The first thing you want to do in any emergency is to stay calm. Do not panic. Then, remember the three A’s:

  1. First, assess the situation. How urgent is the problem? If your child has lost a tooth and is bleeding from the mouth, this is an example of a serious situation. Is the tooth still on the scene of the accident?
  2. Before an emergency occurs, prepare yourself with knowledge concerning basic first aid and simple steps you can take to ease your child’s pain and prolong the life of a lost tooth. This way, you’ll know how to act accordingly.
  3. Finally, call our office and ask if you’re not sure what to do, whether or not your child needs immediate attention, and where they should be treated. We can address some emergencies in our dental office, but some issues are best cared for at an urgent care. Our Storybook Smiles Children’s Dentistry team is always ready to direct and advise you, and offers same-day emergency appointments for exactly these situations.

How to Act…

For a Lost or Broken Adult Tooth

If a permanent tooth breaks and you can locate the broken parts, hold on to them. We may be able to reattach them. If your child loses an entire permanent tooth, this is particularly urgent. If you make it to our office ASAP, we may be able to re-implant the tooth. Best results are within an hour of the injury. You can also perform this yourself if you feel confident. Gentle handle the tooth only by its crown (chewing surface) and not the root end. Rinse the tooth of any debris with milk. Using the spaces of the adjacent teeth as a guide, gently reinsert the tooth. Have your child bite down on a warm washcloth to help set the tooth. If you don’t feel comfortable re-inserting, place the tooth in milk and bring it into our office immediately.

For a Lost Filling or Crown

Clean the area to make sure food doesn’t get stuck in the open area of the tooth. Call us so we can schedule an appointment. Temporary dental wax can protect your child from any tooth sensitivity until you can visit us!

For a Severe Toothache

If a toothache persists after your child has tried flossing and rinsing their mouth with warm water to dislodge any potentially stuck food, we want to see them to make sure there’s no untreated tooth decay or oral infection. Call us to set up an appointment. As needed, manage your child’s pain with an over-the-counter pain medication. However, if severe pain, swelling, fever, or difficulty breathing occur, head to the nearest emergency room.

Call Us at 903-251-9292 for Emergency Dental Care!

Our Storybook Smiles team is here to help your family during emergency dental situations. Although these dental emergencies can feel scary, you can rest assured we will take good care of your child. Call us at 903-251-9292 for urgent dental care.


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