We are thankful to partner with South Mississippi Smiles for this post. We strive to provide helpful information for families on the Gulf Coast.
What do you do when your child has dental emergency?
Dental emergencies for children can be a very frightening experience, and it is important as a parent that you make this process as easy and painless as possible. Whether it’s a boat day out at Horn Island, or just swimming at a friend’s pool, we want our moms and dads to feel prepared if injury strikes.
We never like to see our children in pain. But with fast action during a dental problem that requires immediate care, you can ensure your child gets the best care, treatment, and advice.
What is considered a dental emergency?
Dental emergencies for children are often more severe issues that require immediate care. Therefore, it is important to know when to take your child to the dentist and when to take them to the emergency room. The best way to be prepared for any dental emergency is to know what they are and how to manage them. Before visiting the dentist, you can alleviate other problems such as lost teeth or severe infections with proper care.
SOME COMMON DENTAL EMERGENCIES
- Knocked out tooth
- Broken/chipped tooth
- Swollen gums
- Abscessed tooth
How do I treat a toothache?
If your child has a toothache, you can try to relieve it by using a cold compress on the area and giving them ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief. If the toothache persists, take your child to the dentist as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, toothaches are often a sign of a more severe problem that will require immediate care. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this!
What do I do if my child accidentally knocks out a tooth?
If your child’s tooth has been completely knocked out, try to find it and put it in a cup of milk. If you can’t find the tooth, go to the emergency room, or call the dentist. It is critical to preserve the tooth and do so correctly so that the dentist can reattach it.
Treatment must be provided within approximately two hours of the initial incident to reattach the tooth. So time is of the essence in this dental emergency.
How do I deal with a broken or chipped tooth?
If your child’s tooth is broken or chipped, rinse their mouth with warm water and use a cold compress to reduce swelling. If the tooth is severely damaged, go to the dentist as soon as possible.
How can I prevent damage to the teeth and gums?
There are certain situations where parents can be proactive in protecting their child’s smile. For example, children participating in high-impact contact sports, such as hockey, football, and soccer, should be wearing protective sports mouthguards. These are plastic appliances that cover the teeth and gums to reduce the risk of serious injury if trauma occurs to the jaw or mouth area. Mouthguards are inexpensive—but invaluable when protecting the teeth and gums of your child!
When should I call the dentist?
Any time your child experiences a change in their oral health, it is always a good idea to advise their dentist of the problem. In emergency dental situations, a dentist will often see your child the same day to address any oral health issue, as these are often dental situations that need immediate attention.
The benefits of proactive dentistry
Cavities, also known as tooth decay, can cause significant damage to the teeth—and the overall smile! By following preventative care recommendations from your child’s dentist, you can reduce the risk of damaging conditions that can impact their smile for life.
Instead of waiting for problems to arise before seeing a dentist, preventative dentistry focuses on a more proactive approach to keeping the smile beautiful, healthy, and functioning for your child. With regular visits for cleanings, evaluations, fluoride, and dental sealants, you are taking the steps needed to protect the teeth and the gums of your child.
This way, when problems develop, a dentist can catch them well before they become a severe issue—reducing the overall cost of treatment and permanent damage to the smile.
What are some ways to prevent cavities?
- Routine dental visits. The AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) is a recognized organization that strongly recommends that children visit a pediatric dentist prior to their first birthday if there has been no progress in smile development or after the first tooth erupts through the gumline. After this, routine visits should be scheduled every six months and include a thorough cleaning by a dental hygienist and an examination with the dentist.
- Nutritious diet. Sugars and carbs can increase the risk of developing cavities and periodontal disease in patients of all ages and should be cut back or avoided when possible. Pay close attention to the foods you eat and monitor your child’s consumption of candies and snacks.
- Dental sealants. The application of a dental sealant offers an extra layer of protection against cavities. These are best applied to the teeth near the back of the mouth, like the molars, which have deep pits and grooves that make it easier for food to become stuck and cause decay.
- Fluoride application. Fluoride can increase the strength of the teeth and can be consumed with foods and city water or applied by a dentist in the office.
- Avoid milk bottles at naptime and bedtime. Bottles caries are a concern in babies put down for bed with bottles of formula or milk. These liquids can remain on the surfaces of the teeth and contribute to the development of both cavities and periodontal disease. Instead, eliminate a bedtime bottle entirely or only give water.
By taking care of protecting your child’s teeth from cavities and disease, you are setting a proper foundation for a lifetime of beautiful and healthy smiles!