Q: What to do in an Emergency
A: When your child needs urgent dental treatment, we are on call, (858) 452-7272, and prepared to help you. Please keep our office number available, and contact us should a dental emergency arise. Most importantly, if your child shows any signs of altered or loss of consciousness as a result of a head trauma, contact your pediatrician immediately or go to a hospital’s emergency room.
Q: What should I do if my child's baby tooth is knocked out?
A: Contact our office as soon as possible. While knocked out baby teeth are rarely placed back in the mouth, it is important to examine your child to be sure no fragments of tooth are embedded in the gums, lip or tongue, as well as determine the extent of trauma to other teeth in the area.
Q: What should I do if my child's permanent tooth is knocked out?
A: Find the tooth! Hold the tooth by the crown (top) and rinse it gently using only cool water. (Do not scrub it or clean it with soap — use just water) If possible, replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a wash cloth (remember, the smooth side of the crown always faces out). If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk or water. Come to our office immediately. (Call our emergency number if it’s after hours.) The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
Q: What if a tooth is chipped or fractured?
A: Contact our office promptly, and our doctor on call will determine if the fracture requires immediate attention. If necessary, quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Rinse out your child’s mouth with room temperature water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, bring it with you to our office.
Q: What about a severe blow to the head or jaw fracture?
A: Go to the emergency room of your local hospital immediately. A blow to the head can be life threatening.
Q: What if my child has a toothache?
A: Call your pediatric dentist and visit the office promptly. To comfort your child, rinse the mouth with room temperature salt water. Apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth. Do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area. We may suggest using over the counter pain medications to keep your child comfortable until they can be seen in our office.
Q: Can dental injuries be prevented?
A: Yes. First, reduce oral injury in sports and recreation activities by having your child wear a helmet and/or mouth guard when warranted. Second, always use a car seat for young children. Require seat belts for everyone else in the car. Third, child-proof your home to prevent falls, electrical injuries, and choking on small objects. Fourth, protect your child from unnecessary toothaches with regular dental visits and preventive care.
Q: When is a tooth falling out not an emergency?
A: When the tooth is exfoliating (being pushed out by the permanent tooth). Teeth naturally fall out as their roots are resorbed away by an erupting permanent tooth. This process can cause the baby tooth to change color and get extremely loose. Loose teeth are often uncomfortable to brush or eat with. Though not an emergency, if your child is uncomfortable with a loose tooth, you can make and appointment and bring them in to be checked.