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Dental Emergency First Steps: Do You Know What to Do?

Angela Tague

When your little one injures his mouth, keep your composure. Staying calm and collected during a dental emergency reduces your child's anxiety during the scary situation. In the moments before heading to the dentist or emergency room, do you know what to do?

Toothache
When your child complains of throbbing pain in his mouth, take a peek. Ask the child which tooth is causing him pain and contact the dentist for an appointment. Offer the child a warm salt water solution (a teaspoon of table salt mixed into a glass of tap water does the trick) to gargle. If he's too young to swish and spit, apply a cold compress to the child's cheek and offer an over-the-counter liquid anti-inflammatory medication labeled for children.

Missing Tooth
Of course children will naturally lose their baby teeth, but if one gets knocked out by force, act quickly. Baby teeth cannot be replanted because of potential damage to the incoming permanent tooth, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The child should still be evaluated by a dentist.

If a permanent tooth was knocked out, rinse it immediately with cold water and place it back in the child's mouth in the open socket and hold the tooth in place with a clean tissue. If the child is injured, and replacing the tooth is not feasible, place the tooth in a cup of cold milk or cold water.

Fractured Jaw
If your child suffers trauma to his head or jaw, seek immediate attention. Call 911. In order to get the child to the hospital quickly. If the child is conscious, help him rinse his mouth to remove any blood and get a visual inspection of the damage. Keep the child still and seated or reclined while waiting for help.

Chipped Tooth
When a child's tooth breaks off, keep a close watch on the situation. The rough edge could cut his lips or become infected. Contact the dentist for an emergency appointment.  Help the child rinse his mouth with warm water to remove any small fragments of tooth. Then apply a cold compress to the child's cheek to reduce swelling. Save larger pieces of the chipped tooth in a glass of cold milk or cold water for the dentist.

Accidents can happen anywhere; be prepared. Once your dental emergency stabilizes, seek professional treatment as soon as possible.

Learn more about emergency dental care in the Colgate Oral Care Resources.

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