Toothache is common in children of all ages and rarely occurs without cause. If pain persists, contact the pediatric dentist. Some common causes of toothache include: tooth fractures, tooth decay, tooth trauma, and wisdom teeth eruption (adolescence).
How you can help:
- Cleanse the area using warm water. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth
- Check for impacted food and remove it as necessary
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling
- Contact the pediatric dentist to seek advice
CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE LIP CHEEK
Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to the hospital emergency room.
DENTAL AVULSION (KNOCKED OUT TOOTH)
If a tooth has been knocked-out of the child’s mouth completely, it is important to contact the pediatric dentist immediately. In general, pediatric dentists do not attempt to reimplant avulsed primary (baby) teeth, because the reimplantation procedure itself can cause damage to the tooth bud, and thereby damage the emerging permanent tooth.
Pediatric dentists always attempt to reimplant avulsed permanent teeth, unless the trauma has caused irreparable damage. The reimplantation procedure is almost always more successful if it is performed within one hour of the avulsion, so time is of the essence!
How you can help:
- Recover the tooth. DO NOT touch the tooth roots! Handle the crown only
- Rinse off dirt and debris with water without scrubbing or scraping the tooth
- For older children, insert the tooth into its original socket using gentle pressure, or encourage the child to place the tooth in the cheek pouch. For younger children, submerge the tooth in a glass of milk or saliva (do not attempt to reinsert the tooth in case the child swallows it)
- DO NOT allow the tooth to dry during transportation. Moisture is critically important for reimplantation success
- Call our office immediately. Time is of the essence and the faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth
BROKEN OR FRACTURED TOOTH
The crown is the largest, most visible part of the tooth. In most cases, the crown is the part of the tooth that sustains trauma. The pediatric dentist can readily assess the severity of the fracture using dental X-rays, but any change in tooth color (for example, pinkish or yellowish tinges inside the tooth) is an emergency warning sign. Minor crown fractures often warrant the application of dental composite, whereas more severe crown fractures sometimes require pulp treatments.
How you can help:
- Rinse the child’s mouth with warm water
- Place a cold, moist compress on the affected area
- Offer strong pain relief (for example, Children’s Tylenol)
- Call our office to have the tooth evaluated. Fractures to permanent teeth are much more serious than fractures to primary teeth but call immediately if a primary tooth is fractured nonetheless
If a broken or fractured jaw is suspected, proceed immediately to the Emergency Room. In the meantime, encourage the child not to move the jaw. In the case of a very young child, gently tie a scarf lengthways around the head and jaw to prevent movement.
HEAD INJURY/HEAD TRAUMA
If the child has received trauma to the head, proceed immediately to the Emergency Room. Even if consciousness has not been lost, it is important for pediatric doctors to rule out delayed concussion and internal bleeding.
If you have questions about dental emergencies, please contact our office.