Pediatric Dental Emergencies

A young dental patient smiling in the chair while wearing dark sunglasses for protection

At Novato Children's Dentistry, we understand that dental emergencies can be stressful and frightening for both children and parents. That's why we're committed to providing prompt, compassionate care to address dental emergencies quickly and efficiently, ensuring your child's comfort and safety.

If your child should sustain an injury to the mouth or experience dental pain, please give our office a call. Our team is available for emergencies during and after office hours.

Our office is also part of the pediatric dental emergency call group of Marin County, therefore there is always a pediatric dentist available for consultation of mouth trauma or dental concerns after hours, weekends, and holidays

Understanding Pediatric Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies can be a source of distress for both children and parents, but understanding how to handle these situations can make a significant difference in outcomes. This section is dedicated to providing crucial information about dental emergencies, particularly as they pertain to children.

Emergencies can range from toothaches, chipped or broken teeth, to knocked-out teeth and injuries to the gums or jaws.

We discuss common types of dental emergencies that children might experience and provide step-by-step guidance on what to do in each scenario. This includes immediate first-aid measures, determining the severity of the situation, and when to seek professional dental care.

Our aim is to equip parents with the knowledge and confidence to effectively manage dental emergencies, minimizing discomfort and preventing further complications. Understanding these emergency procedures is vital in preserving your child’s dental health and ensuring prompt, appropriate care in unexpected situations.

What Constitutes A Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies can be obvious, such as a broken tooth or pain or trauma. Other issues such as mild sensitivity or a loose tooth probably aren’t emergencies, but they could be. If you think your child is experiencing a dental emergency, do not hesitate to contact our office. Our team will take great care of you and provide treatment options.

Recognizing A Pediatric Dental Emergency

A dental emergency can occur at any time. Common symptoms may include:

  • Toothaches: Severe, persistent pain that disrupts daily activities or sleep.
  • Chipped or Broken Teeth: Immediate care can prevent further damage or infection.
  • Knocked-Out Teeth: Time is critical in saving a knocked-out permanent tooth.
  • Loose Teeth: Unusual looseness in a child's teeth may require professional attention.
  • Injuries to the Mouth: Cuts or lacerations to the gums, tongue, or cheek lining.

Cold sensitivity generally means that something is irritating the nerve of the tooth. Often that means a cavity, but it could also mean that your teeth are exposed to acids. Most beverages, other than water, are acidic. Juices, bottled tea, and sodas are particularly sensitizing to teeth. Initially, the teeth become sweet or cold sensitive.  Later, cavities are likely to form.

Cold or sweet sensitivity is mostly reversible by treating the tooth decay and eliminating the sources of sugar and acid.

Cracked/chipped teeth may be the result of dental trauma, such as a fall or hard hit to the mouth. But in situations where there has been no recent trauma yet, the presence of cracks or chips in the teeth may indicate grinding at night or during sleep that may require further correction.

Here Are Some Tips For Common Pediatric Dental Emergencies:

  • For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.
  • If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
  • For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
  • For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.

How We Can Help In The Event Of A Dental Emergency

  • Prompt Assessments: We offer quick assessments of dental emergencies to determine the best course of action.
  • Pain Management: Addressing your child's pain is our first priority, using appropriate pain relief and sedation options.
  • Comprehensive Treatment: From re-implanting knocked-out teeth to repairing damage, we provide a range of emergency treatments tailored to your child's needs.
  • Follow-Up Care: Ensuring a full recovery, we offer detailed aftercare instructions and follow-up appointments as needed.

What You Should Do In The Event Of A Dental Emergency

  1. Stay Calm: Keeping calm will help reassure your child and allow you to take the necessary steps more effectively.
  2. Contact Us Immediately: Time is often crucial in a dental emergency. Call us as soon as possible for advice and to arrange an emergency visit.
  3. Follow Immediate Care Steps: Depending on the nature of the emergency, there may be immediate steps you can take, such as rinsing the mouth with warm water or applying a cold compress.

Why Choose Novato Children's Dentistry for Dental Emergencies?

  • Specialized Pediatric Care: Our team is specially trained to handle pediatric dental emergencies, providing care that is both effective and sensitive to the needs of children.
  • Child-Friendly Environment: We strive to make our practice a comforting place for children, even in emergency situations, helping to alleviate fear and anxiety.
  • Comprehensive Support: Beyond treating the immediate issue, we offer guidance on preventing future emergencies and maintaining optimal oral health.