Emergency Dental Care for Children – What You Need to Know?

Accidents can happen to your children anytime and anywhere. Getting hit in the face with a baseball, falling off a skateboard or even just biting into a hard candy can cause chipped or lost teeth.

Every parent has to handle a medical emergency with their children at least once, whether it’s a bloody nose or a broken bone. But what do you do if it involves your child’s teeth?


Knowing what to do when a dental emergency occurs can mean the difference between saving your child’s teeth and severe damage to their smile and their health.

Continue reading this article further to find out what you can do to save your child’s teeth in emergencies.

How do you know if there is a dental emergency?

Sometimes a chipped tooth is not usually a dental crisis that has to be dealt with immediately, but injury, bleeding, or pain that can signal an infection that needs treatment right away.

Issues that require urgent dental care include –

  • An abscess (swollen tissue with accumulated pus)
  • Dental injuries, such as an avulsed tooth or tooth fracture
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding
  • Severe pain

Handling dental emergency – initial care

How do you care for a dental crisis while you call your dentist? Below are some tips to make the situation easier for your child before they see the dentist:

Know where to go

Always know the phone number, address, and opening hours for your child’s dentist. Keeping this information handy will help you to save time.

Your dental surgeon will have arrangements for out of hours care too, especially when the clinic is closed at night, weekends, and during the holidays.

Keep these details in a convenient place so that you can find them quickly when you need to.

Reassuring your child

In an emergency, if you stay calm, confident, and composed, it will help your child feel safe. Reassure them that you know what to do, and tell your child that any pain will get better soon.

Caring for the injured tooth

Knocked out or avulsed tooth

Baby tooth

  • If there is bleeding, rinse the mouth with water and place gauze in the opening.
  • You can apply cold compresses on the outside of the mouth to reduce swelling.
  • Never try to reinsert the tooth into the opening – you may damage the permanent teeth growing underneath.

Adult tooth

  • If a permanent tooth is involved, it should be inserted back immediately
  • into the tooth socket.
  • Hold the avulsed tooth by the crown portion and not the root. Next, gently insert and hold the injured tooth firmly in its socket with a gauze pad or clean washcloth.
  • If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse the tooth with clean water before inserting it back into the socket. You should not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue bits attached to it.
  • If it is not possible to insert the avulsed tooth back in the socket, have your child hold their tooth under the tongue or in their cheek. If unsuccessful, place the tooth in a sealed bag or container with saliva, milk, saline, or a tooth preservation solution. As a last resort, you may place the affected tooth in plain water.
  • It’s best to see your dentist within 30 minutes. You should not forget to take the tooth or any tooth pieces you can find. (1)

Broken or Cracked Tooth

If your child has a fractured or cracked tooth, visit your dentist immediately to prevent further injury.

If you can find the broken piece of tooth, take it with you to the emergency appointment. Wrap the tooth piece in wet gauze or damp towel if possible.

In the meantime, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. Then place a cold compress (like an ice pack or washcloth with ice wrapped inside) on your child’s face to help reduce swelling.

If your kid is not experiencing any pain, schedule an appointment as soon as it is convenient for you. There are several dental restoration options your dentist can recommend how the chipped tooth can get repaired.

Bitten Tongue or Lip

Injuries to the lip or tongue happen for a variety of reasons. If your child experiences a cut to their oral tissues, gently clean the affected area with a cloth.

You should also place a cold compress on the injured area to put the swelling down.

If there is uncontrolled bleeding, take your child to a dentist or emergency center for further examination.

Objects Caught Between Teeth

If something gets caught in between your child’s teeth, gently try removing the object with a toothbrush and dental floss. If that doesn’t work, do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.

Toothache or Swollen Face

A toothache most commonly occurs due to an abscess or tooth decay. Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to clean it. Give your child the usual medication you give them for pain relief. Do not put any medication directly on the aching tooth or gums.

If your child’s face gets swollen, take your child to your dentist or physician. Swelling of the face can be a sign of severe infection. Do not delay.

Broken Jaw

In some cases, accidents may cause a fracture to the jaw. If you notice swelling on your child’s face, apply a cold compress to ease the inflammation.

Rush your child to the dentist or an emergency center right away where they can confirm the injury with dental x-rays. (2)

Prevention of dental emergencies

If your kid plays a sport where they might get hit in the face, like hockey or rugby, get them a mouth guard. Your dentist can make one that is uniquely fitted to your child’s teeth. (3)

Make sure your kid has regular check-ups at the dentist. This way, problems such as tooth decay can be treated early, before they become more serious.

Your dentist can also advise on eating, drinking, and tooth brushing, to keep your child’s teeth healthy and avoid painful cavities altogether.

Make sure that your child avoids chewing on hard food items such as popcorn kernels, ice,  and hard candies, all of which can crack a tooth.


Children are at high risk to suffer the trauma of the head and mouth as a result of normal play activities or involvement in sports.


Taking your child immediately to your dentist will help them to take the necessary action in time to prevent further dental problems such as infection and abscess.

No parent ever wants to see his or her child suffering from discomfort. When a pediatric dental emergency occurs- there is no need to fret.

Knowing how to respond during an emergency can significantly help your child in their time of need and even prevent tooth loss.


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