What to Do When Your Child Has a Dental Emergency

What to Do When Your Child Has a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency is a stressful and scary situation for anyone to be in, but if your child experiences an emergency, then knowing what steps to take will make all the difference. From knocked-out teeth to severe cracks, we will cover the common emergencies you could face this Christmas and walk you through the appropriate immediate actions to take, so make sure that you are well prepared to handle these scary situations, minimise pain, and prevent any dental complications for your child.

Children’s Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can vary in severity, but no matter how minimal or severe an emergency is, it is almost guaranteed that emotions will be high throughout the situation. Children and parents can often panic during these stressful situations, and this is a completely normal response – parents may feel panicked and shocked and their protective instincts kick in, making it difficult to stay calm, whilst children may also feel scared, confused, and overwhelmed by the unfamiliar pain and the shock, as well as the intense range of emotions displayed by their parents.

Whilst these emotions are normal, the best thing you can do as a parent in these situations is to remain calm. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious, but remaining calm and assertive will help you manage the situation effectively and provide the necessary support to your child. Once an emergency occurs, a key priority is to react assertively and take control of the situation by immediately reassuring the child and creating a safe, positive environment for them. Since they have just experienced a big shock and may be in pain, a calm demeanour helps to prevent them becoming more anxious or frightened, which allows you to assess their injury and seek immediate dental care.

Once you have calmed your child down, the next step is to assess the situation to determine the severity of the emergency and whether immediate action is required. There are several situations that can be classified as dental emergencies for children, and many of them require immediate attention, so it’s important to recognise these common emergencies and respond quickly.

  • Knocked-Out Baby Tooth

If your child’s emergency involves a knocked-out baby tooth, immediate action is necessary to minimise pain and prevent complications. Start by attempting to stop the bleeding gum by applying a gentle pressure with a cotton gauze or a piece of clean, rolled-up tissue paper. Hold it in place for around 5 to 10 minutes, or have your child bite down on it whilst you get in touch with our team. Once the bleeding is under control, provide your child with painkillers as appropriate whilst heading over to our emergency dentist for kids, and please bear in mind that ibuprofen may not be suitable for your child if they are asthmatic.

  • Knocked-Out Adult Tooth

If the tooth that has been knocked out is an adult one, then the first step is to calm your child and reassure them that their tooth can be saved, provided that you work as a team and remain calm. Both of you should avoid trying to touch the gums or assess the damage, and instead should try to locate the missing tooth. Once you have located it, hold it by the crown to avoid the root end, and rinse it gently, being careful not to damage any attached tissue left on the tooth.

The next step is to attempt to reattach the tooth to the gum. If this simple procedure is carried out within 5 minutes, then 80-90% of teeth should survive, so time is of the essence. Gently and carefully attempt to put the tooth back into the socket, root first, and have your child bite down gently on some clean tissue to stabilise the tooth once it is in. If you don’t feel comfortable attempting this, or if your child finds it too painful or overwhelming to try, then put the tooth into a cup of milk or salted water and contact our team, or your local emergency dentist for kids for prompt assistance.

  • Cracked, Broken or Chipped Teeth

A general rule to bear in mind when dealing with damaged baby teeth is that if your child is not in pain, it is not an urgent emergency. After addressing the immediate concerns and establishing that there is no pain, contact your regular dentist to schedule an appointment. Your usual dentist will be able to assess the damage and provide the necessary treatment, which is often minimal and non-invasive. Small chips often require no treatment, and if there is no danger of infection, then you will most likely be advised to leave the tooth alone to fall out on its own.

If you are worried about potential infections, or your child is in pain, then contact your local dentist or our team so that your child can be seen as soon as possible. Similarly, if any tooth that gets chipped or damaged is an adult tooth, then it is important that you contact a dentist immediately to avoid infection and assess any damage. Adult teeth may need to have specialist emergency treatment, including having the crown rebuilt with a composite resin material, root canal treatment, or a full extraction.

Contacting Marsh House for a Dental Emergency

If your child has a dental emergency, then the team here is here to help. Call us on 020 8646 6300, Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm, and we will be on hand to assess and treat any emergencies. If your child experiences any emergencies outside of these hours, then please leave a message on our answering machine, and if we are unable to get back to you within 30 minutes, don’t hesitate to call your local dentist or NHS 111.

Please remember that Marsh House will be closed over Christmas, so if you have an emergency during this time, keep the NHS 111 number handy and remember our top tips to remain calm and keep your little ones comfortable and safe.