Parental Management of Dental Emergency
Accidents may happen anytime, anywhere. But, knowing how to manage a dental emergency can make a difference between saving a tooth and losing it. A dental problem requiring immediate treatment in order to save a tooth, stop ongoing tissue bleeding, reduce swelling of the lip, tongue or cheek or ease severe pain, is considered a dental emergency.
Some of the common dental emergencies from accidents or dental infections include:
- Knocked out tooth (Tooth Avulsion).
- Tooth pushed into jawbone (Intrusion) – Sometimes, dental trauma forces a tooth into the jawbone.
- Loose tooth or a tooth that is out of alignment.
- Broken jaw from a blow to the head. Severe blows can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
- Tissue injury and facial pain – Injury in your child’s oral cavity such as tears to the lips, cheeks, mouth, and tongue, are considered tissue injuries that can result in bleeding.
- A severe and sudden toothache.
- Severe infection or abscess in the mouth – An abscess is a serious condition that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth, with the infection possibly spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.
Any dental emergency can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. If your child has a dental emergency, do not delay visiting a dentist or calling your dentist immediately. Whether at home, office or traveling, the following tips can help you manage a dental emergency until you can get to the dentist’s office.
- Knocked-out tooth: For knocked out permanent tooth, rinse gently with water to remove dirt and debris holding crown only. Do not scrub it. If you can, try to reinsert tooth into the socket without touching the root and have your child bite gently on a clean handkerchief to keep the tooth in place.
For young children, place the tooth in a glass of milk or saliva. This will help to preserve the tooth. Do not reinsert the tooth into the opening as it may damage the permanent tooth growing underneath. If there’s bleeding, rinse the mouth with water and place gauze in the socket opening.
- Tooth pushed into jawbone: Rinse the child’s mouth with cold water and apply cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Cracked Tooth (Crown Fracture): Rinse the mouth using warm water and the broken tooth pieces and place it in a glass of milk. Apply cold compress in the affected region to reduce swelling. If there’s bleeding, apply gauze piece to the area for about 10 minutes.
- Loose tooth: Place the tooth back into the socket in its original position and have your child bite gently on it.
Broken Jaw: Use a cold compress to reduce swelling till you reach the dentist or an emergency centre.
Tissue Injury and Facial Pain: Clean the area with warm water and apply a moistened piece of gauze. Apply cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. If bleeding still persists, continue to apply pressure until your child can be seen and treated.
Toothache: In case of a severe toothache, rinse the mouth with warm water. Gently use dental floss to clean any food particles stuck between the teeth. Do not use sharp or pointed objects. If pain still persists, apply cold compress to ease the pain. Do not apply heat or medicate the affected tooth or adjacent gum area.
Severe Infection or Abscess in the Mouth: If you discover a pimple-like swelling on your child’s gum that is painful, rinse your child’s mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day. A root canal may be required in some cases to drain out the abscess.
Prevention of Dental Emergencies
Many dental emergencies can be easily prevented through routine dental checkups every 6 months as this will ensure that your child’s oral and dental health is in good condition. Take following preventing measures to avoid dental injuries
- Have your child wear a mouthguard when participating in-contact sports to prevent dental injuries.
- Ask your dentist for custom-fitted mouthguard for your child.
- Avoid chewing on hard foods as they may fracture your child’s teeth.
- Always use seat belt for your child
- Have a dental check-up before you plan a long distance travel. The dentist could fix any dental problems to prevent from becoming a dental emergency later.
If you need more information about safe care in the event of a dental emergency while traveling, contact Langley Dental Centre at 604 455 6247.
Any dental emergency can be potentially serious and should not be ignored. Therefore have a routine dental check-up done, every 6 months and use safety measures to avoid dental injuries. Keeping a dental first aid kit handy, helps. The kit can have phone number of your dentist, a gauze, and a soft cloth.
Having access to an emergency dentist to attend to your dental problem is a blessing, especially during late night hours or during holidays. If you find your child in dental emergency situation, contact Langley Dental Centre.