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8 Common Dental Emergencies in Children

Children are known for their boundless energy and insatiable curiosity, qualities that propel them into a world of exploration and adventure. While these traits are essential for their development and growth, they can sometimes lead to accidents and injuries, including dental emergencies. As a parent or guardian, it’s your duty and your prerogative to be prepared for these unforeseen situations. Being equipped with the knowledge to provide immediate care and alleviate your child’s discomfort can make a significant difference in their overall well-being.

In this article, we will learn more about what is a dental emergency for children, addressing the common scenarios, their causes, and the necessary steps to take when these distressing moments unfold. Dental emergencies can be daunting for you and your child, but armed with the correct information and preparedness, you can navigate these situations with poise.

Understanding Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can vary in nature and severity, ranging from minor issues like a chipped tooth to more severe situations like a knocked-out tooth. Each scenario demands a different approach, and your quick and appropriate response can often determine the outcome. Therefore, you must familiarise yourself with the common dental emergencies children might encounter and the steps you should take to address them. Doing so can minimise pain, prevent complications, and ensure a better possible outcome for your child’s oral health.

Common Dental Emergencies in Children and What to Do?

Here are some common dental emergencies that parents should be aware of:


  1. Knocked-Out Tooth (Avulsed Tooth)

A knocked-out tooth is a frequent dental emergency among children, especially those involved in sports and active play. Acting quickly is essential when a child’s tooth is completely dislodged from its socket due to an injury. If your child loses a tooth due to an injury, follow these steps:


    • Retrieve the tooth carefully, holding it by the crown (the visible part) and avoiding touching the root.

    • Gently rinse the tooth with milk or saline solution to remove dirt or debris.

    • Attempt to reinsert the tooth into the socket, holding it in place with a clean cloth or gauze.

    • If reinsertion is impossible, place the tooth in a cup of milk or your child’s saliva to keep it moist.

    • Seek immediate dental care, as the chances of saving the tooth decrease significantly with time.


    1. Chipped or Broken Tooth

Children can easily chip or break a tooth while playing or due to a fall. Rinse the mouth, apply gentle pressure if bleeding, and contact a dentist for evaluation and repair.


    • Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to remove any debris.

    • If bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or gauze.

    • Save any broken tooth fragments if possible.

    • Contact a dentist for a prompt evaluation and repair.


    1. Toothache

Various factors, including tooth decay or infection, can cause toothaches in children. When your child complains of a toothache:


    • Clean the area around the affected tooth gently with warm water and floss to check for any visible debris.

    • If a foreign object is visible, use dental floss to try and remove it carefully.

    • Never place aspirin or other pain-relieving substances directly on the gum or tooth, as this can cause burns.

    • Contact your child’s dentist to schedule an appointment for a thorough examination.


    1. Lip or Tongue Injuries

Accidents can result in lip or tongue injuries, such as cuts or punctures. Here’s what to do:


    • Clean the wound gently with warm water.

    • Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.

    • If bleeding persists or the injury is severe, seek immediate medical attention.


    1. Loose Tooth

A loose tooth can be common as children transition from baby to permanent teeth. It is typically a natural part of the dental development process. As baby teeth start to make way for permanent teeth, the roots of the baby teeth gradually dissolve, causing them to become loose and eventually fall out, making room for the emerging permanent teeth. However, if your child has a loose tooth due to an injury:


    • Advise your child not to wiggle or pull on the loose tooth.

    • Maintain good oral hygiene to prevent infection.

    • If the tooth is extremely loose or has shifted, contact your child’s dentist for evaluation.


    1. Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a severe dental emergency in children. It’s an infection that can occur around a tooth or in the gums and can cause severe pain, swelling, and even fever. Here’s what you should do if you suspect your child has a dental abscess:


    • Get in touch with your child’s dentist immediately.

    • Provide over-the-counter pain relievers following recommended dosages to help alleviate your child’s pain. 

    • Avoid applying pain relievers directly to the affected area.

    • Please have your child gently rinse their mouth with warm salt water multiple times daily to reduce pain and maintain cleanliness.

    • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene, keeping the area clean to prevent further damage. 


    1. Object Lodged in Teeth or Gums

When a foreign object gets stuck between a child’s teeth or lodged in their gums, it can be classified as a dental emergency. If not addressed promptly, this situation can cause discomfort, pain, and potential infection or damage. Here’s what to do if your child experiences this type of dental emergency:


    • Keep a calm demeanour to reassure your child and prevent panic.

    • Examine the area gently to assess the size and location of the lodged object without pushing it further in.

    • If accessible, try to remove the thing with clean tweezers or dental floss, taking care to be gentle and avoid forcing it.

    • If unsuccessful or if there’s bleeding, swelling, or signs of infection, immediately contact your child’s dentist.


    1. Broken Jaw

A broken jaw can be a severe dental emergency for a child. It often results from a significant injury or trauma to the face or jaw area. This condition requires immediate attention, as it can cause pain, difficulty in speaking or breathing, and potential complications. Here’s what to do if you suspect your child has a broken jaw:


    • Examine your child’s face and jaw carefully. Look for signs of swelling, bruising, or an abnormal alignment of the jaw.

    • To prevent further movement and minimise pain, instruct your child to keep their mouth as still as possible. You can use a soft cloth or bandage to gently support and stabilise the jaw, being cautious not to obstruct their airway.

    • Apply Cold Compress

    • Seek Immediate Medical Care

Preventing Dental Emergencies

While accidents can happen, regular dental care and taking preventive measures can reduce the risk of dental emergencies in children:


    • Ensure your child wears a mouthguard during sports activities.

    • Supervise play and activities to minimise the chances of accidents.

    • Encourage a balanced diet low in sugary snacks and beverages to prevent tooth decay.

Take Swift Action for Your Child’s Dental Emergencies

Being prepared and knowing how to respond during a dental emergency can make all the difference in preserving your child’s oral health. At Blue Gum Dental, we understand how stressful dental emergencies can be for both caregivers and children. This is why we aim to provide quick and quality dental care, offering gentle support and accurate treatment to help move your child towards a successful recovery. 

Contact us without delay in case of dental emergencies or book a consultation if you need any guidance or support for you and your family today.  

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