If you’re currently experiencing a dental emergency we urge you to visit our trauma page and to contact our office immediately.

There are two major types of dental emergencies. The first is the result of a physical injury where your child’s tooth is chipped, cracked, knocked loose or completely out!  The second type of emergency involves cases where a child may be complaining of swelling or pain around a tooth that has a cavity or a toothache itself.

In this post we’ll provide some context for each situation as well as share some important things NOT to do in those emergencies.

Child Toothaches and Swelling Emergencies

Watching your child in pain is a helpless situation. Parents feel helpless and your biggest concern is making your child feel better again. When your child has a cavity, it’s not unusual for that tooth to cause your child pain.  There can be pain when eating sweets, there can be pain when eating hot and cold foods and there can be constant pain. When there’s constant pain accompanied by swelling this is a sign of an abscess.

An abscess is serious because the infection in your child’s tooth can spread infection to other parts of your child’s body.  Abscessed teeth also affect the way your child eats.

If this describes your child’s condition, we urge you to contact a dentist as soon as possible. If you’re local to the High Point, NC and surrounding areas, you can call our emergency number at 336-887-9277. From there you can dial “4” if your emergency is after regular business hours to be connected to our emergency line.

In cases where there isn’t constant pain, and maybe the swelling hasn’t extended to the child’s cheek or face, we would still advise that you make an appointment with your dentist as soon as is feasible. Swelling is never ideal and could be the early phases of an abscess or other trauma-related symptoms.

Don’t delay having someone look at your child’s mouth if they are having pain. Over the counter pain relievers may help with the pain, but if there’s an infection,  painkillers will only mask discomfort for your child. A dentist will help with the infection.

Dental Emergencies Caused by Traumatic Injuries

Kids are active and that can mean that accidents happen! Anything from the first snow fall to spring sports and playground equipment can cause an untimely mouth injury.

When you have a dental emergency and you don’t know what to do, this chart can help!

Baby tooth chipped Make sure the bleeding is stopped and check to make sure that they are behaving normally Over the counter pain reliever, ice may help if your child has injured their lip or cheeks.
BAby tooth knocked loose Stop the bleeding with pressure and make sure that your child doesn’t have anything sharp that will further injure them. Ice may help with swelling but you must be careful not to disturb the tooth further.
BAby tooth knocked out Try to locate the tooth to make sure that the tooth hasn’t been swallowed.  Apply ice as needed If you cannot locate the tooth, see a dentist for an x-ray immediately.
Adult tooth chipped If the nerve of the tooth is showing, make sure that your child is treating the tooth very gently.  Ice may not be comfortable for these teeth. Call your dentist as soon as possible but these teeth need to be treated with kid gloves!
Adult tooth knocked loose Be careful NOT to apply pressure to these teeth.  They need to be splinted ASAP. See a dentist within 30 minutes of the injury
Adult tooth knocked out Place the tooth in milk ASAP.  DO NOT ice anything. See a dentist within 30 minutes.  Make sure to tell your dentist that your child’s tooth has been knocked out and that you are on your way IMMEDIATELY!

The treatment that we recommend isn’t simply to save the tooth, but also to take x-rays that can help determine if there’s been damage to the jaw, muscles or ligaments that normally support the tooth. If a baby tooth has been injured, it’s important to make sure it hasn’t affected the adult tooth underneath. There are ways of addressing that that your dentist needs to review with you as soon as possible to ensure a healthy mouth for your child throughout the rest of their growth years.

One last note here, and this is important: if your child isn’t having a normal reaction to this trauma such as being scared, crying, or exhibiting anxiety, it could be a sign that your child has suffered a concussion or other brain injury from the trauma. Because of this, we advise parents to FIRST contact their pediatrician if you have any doubt that your child is behaving normally. A  concussion is a higher priority than even a dental emergency.

Need an emergency dentist for your child in the High Point area?

Call our office today to schedule something ASAP. If our regular office line is busy at the time of your call, you may use our emergency line by dialing 336-887-9277 and dialing 4 at the prompt to be connected directly to Dr. Warr, emergency kids dentist.

Note that this line is for true emergencies only, please!