Sometimes the unexpected happens and we’re confronted with an emergency dental issue that requires immediate treatment. This can include a knocked-out tooth, uncontrolled bleeding, signs of an infection, severe tooth pain, dental trauma, a broken tooth, or jaw injuries.
If you’re wondering what qualifies as a dental emergency, ask yourself if the issue is severe or could lead to serious oral health complications and if the problem requires immediate treatment. If the problem cannot wait for a regularly scheduled appointment, give our Columbia team a call so we can fit you in for a dental emergency.
The hospital is not the best place to take your child for a dental emergency unless the issue is very serious or life-threatening.
We will examine your child’s mouth to look at the cause of the problem. X-rays will be taken to determine if they have a tooth infection or damage to their dental pulp.
The first thing we will do is relieve your child’s pain. Local anesthesia will be used before we begin treating the issue so they won’t feel any discomfort anymore.
We will work on removing any sources of pain, swelling, and bleeding. Once Dr. Kim determine if your child has suffered from dental trauma or an infection, we can formulate a treatment plan to prevent the situation from worsening and restore your child’s oral health.
Unless the problem can be treated in a single appointment, we will schedule follow-up appointments for your child to come back to complete their treatment or to make sure that the issue has been resolved and is healing properly.
In a dental emergency, it’s important to stay calm. If you panic, your child will also panic and it will be more difficult to manage the situation so they can get help. Take a second to breathe and identify the issue by asking them what happened or if they are very young, examining their mouth.
If a tooth has been knocked out, you should locate it, pick it up by the crown, not the root, and rinse it off with water. Try to have your child put the tooth back in the socket. If it’s unable to reattach, store it in a container of milk and bring it along to their emergency dental appointment.
When an issue like this happens, you should contact our Columbia team right away because our ability to save the tooth is time-sensitive. This is also the case for dental trauma and infections. The longer you wait, the worse the problem can become.
For immediate relief, have your child take an age-appropriate dose of ibuprofen to relieve pain. A cold compress can reduce swelling and rinsing the mouth with lukewarm saltwater can remove bacteria, debris, and food particles. Keep their head elevated.
If your child is bleeding, use some dampened fresh gauze to stop the bleeding and take them into the dental office right away. For severe bleeding or life-threatening injuries, you should take them to the ER.
Did you know that you have to floss baby teeth? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends flossing in the areas where 2 teeth touch regardless of age.
You will need to floss your child’s teeth for them until they’re about 10, since it’s a lot harder to learn proper flossing technique than it is to learn proper brushing technique.
Flossing your child’s teeth will not be dissimilar to flossing your own. Depending on their age, you may need to find a toy or distraction to keep them entertained while you floss their teeth. Floss holders may be helpful for toddlers so they don’t bite your fingers. Just make sure you’re flossing between every two teeth that make contact and behind their molar.
We recommend flossing your child’s teeth once per day, and having them rinse with water or mouthwash after flossing to remove any food particles that were dislodged during the process.
If your child has severe tooth pain that does not go away and cannot be relieved with pain medication, it is considered a dental emergency.