Dental Emergencies

Our pediatric dentists are often able to determine your child’s need to be seen over the phone. If you think your child’s injury is a true life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.

Knocked Out PERMANENT Tooth

When to call: Immediately

Plan of action: If possible, find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown and not by the root. You may gently rinse the tooth with water only. Do not scrub the tooth. Try to place the tooth back into the socket and then hold it in place with your finger or by biting on a towel. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing your child’s saliva or milk.

Knockout Out PRIMARY (Baby) Tooth

When to call: As soon as you can

Plan of action: Never reinsert a baby tooth. This is usually not an emergency, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary. It is recommended to find the tooth to confirm it was not swallowed. An x-ray may be recommended to confirm the tooth was not pushed into the gum.

Chipped or Fractured PERMANENT Tooth or PRIMARY (Baby) Tooth

When to call: As soon as you can

Plan of action: This is usually not an emergency. Be prepared to answer questions relating to sensitivity and size of fracture. Our dentist will determine if a nerve has been exposed; we will then determine the timing and need for treatment.

PERMANENT or PRIMARY Toothache

When to call: Call during business hours. If your child can not sleep, call the following morning.

Plan of action: Clean the area of the affected tooth with a toothbrush and use dental floss to remove any food that may be impacted. Look for signs of an abscess or swelling. Ibuprofen or Tylenol is recommended for tooth pain. We do not recommend the use of Ora-gel.

Abscessed tooth (Facial swelling or a bump on the gums next to the tooth) PERMANENT or PRIMARY

When to call: If your child has swelling of the face, call immediately. If your child has a pimple-like area next to the tooth, call during business hours.

Plan of action: Our pediatric dentist will determine the treatment needed and if your child will need to be placed on an antibiotic. A referral for a root canal may be recommended for a permanent tooth. Most abscessed primary teeth need to be extracted.

Lip, Tongue, and/or Cheek Biting—Following Local Anesthetic

When to call: Usually not necessary. Call during business hours with questions or concerns.

Plan of action: If your child had dental treatment and bit his/her lip, cheek, or tongue, it may look like a yellow strawberry for 3-5 days. It is not an infection; it is tissue regenerating. It is critical to keep the area clean and avoid salty, acidic foods. If necessary take Ibuprofen or Tylenol

Permanent Tooth Coming in, Primary (Baby) Tooth Not Out

When to call: Lower teeth: Usually not necessary. Upper teeth: Call during business hours.

Plan of action: When baby teeth are loose, allow your child to wiggle them out. This will prevent permanent teeth from erupting in the wrong place. The lower incisors often erupt behind the baby teeth and the tongue helps push them forward and out. Typically, extractions are not needed for the primary lower central incisors but may be recommended for the primary upper incisors.

Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw

Keep the jaw from moving and call 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency room immediately.

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