Pediatric Dental Emergencies

If you face a dental emergency, give us a call immediately. If you have a true dental emergency you can call our office and leave a message on the emergency line and someone will get back to you shortly. Below are tips on dealing with urgent/emergent dental situations. You may want to display this list on your refrigerator or store it near your emergency phone numbers for easy reference.


If your child complains of a toothache, rinse their mouth with warm water and inspect the teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. Use dental floss to dislodge any food that may be impacted. If the pain persists, treat with a pain reliever, and contact your child's dentist. If the face is swollen, apply cold compresses and contact your dentist immediately.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek

If your child has bitten their lip or tongue severely enough to cause bleeding, clean the bite gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling. If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure visit the hospital emergency room or urgent care.

Knocked out permanent Tooth

If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown, not by the root. You may rinse the tooth with water or milk but DO NOT clean with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient's saliva or milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient's mouth (beside the cheek). The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Knocked Out Baby Tooth

Contact your pediatric dentist. This is not usually an emergency, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary.

Chipped or Fractured Tooth

Contact your pediatric dentist to determine course of action. Larger fractures, where the nerve is exposed may require urgent treatment. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to the dentist.

Loose Teeth After Trauma

Contact your pediatric dentist immediately and avoid biting into any foods with loose tooth/teeth. Primary teeth that are so loose they could be aspirated may need to be removed. Loose permanent teeth may need to be splinted in place.

Severe Blow to the Head

Take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately.

Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw

Keep the jaw from moving and take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Avoiding Dental Emergencies

You can help your child avoid dental emergencies.

  • Child-proof your house to avoid serious falls.
  • Never let your child walk wrapped in a towel or blanket where they cannot catch themselves if they fall.
  • Don't let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, lollipops, or other hard foods.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy candies when dental restorations or orthodontic appliances are present.
  • Always use car seats for young children and require seat belts for older children.
  • If your child plays contact sports, have them wear a mouthguard.
  • Finally, prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist.
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