Oh no! My kid just fell on the playground—right on his mouth! What do I do?
Trauma resulting in life-threatening or head injuries should be treated at the emergency room as quickly as possible. Call 911 to seek emergency medical care.
For dental emergencies, the best thing to do is stay calm and seek care from pediatric dentists. You can trust our office to take the best care of your child. The type of care will depend on the type of emergency. Here is an easy breakdown to help you get your child the best emergency dental care.
What is emergency children’s dentistry?
Events resulting in traumatic injuries to teeth are the most common emergencies. These include falls that lead to broken teeth, and teeth knocked out of the mouth. Whether your child falls on the playground in Nocatee or gets hit with a baseball during Little League in Palencia, our office is here to help.
Emergencies can come from a variety of situations. You should call our office if your child has a:
- Broken tooth
- Knocked out tooth
- Swelling of gums or face, especially with fever
- Painful red gums or face, especially with fever
If in doubt, please call and we can talk you through your concerns and dental care your child might need.
You should rinse the mouth with warm water and use a cold compress on the face to reduce swelling. There may be lacerations or abrasions to the inside or outside of the face so be gentle.
If you can find the tooth fragment, bring it with you to your appointment stored in cold milk. It can be glued back on but should be done as soon as possible.
Knocked out tooth
If a baby tooth is knocked out, the potential complications of re-implanting the tooth are often greater than the benefit. Our trusted dentists do not recommend re-implanting baby teeth, although finding the knocked out tooth is important and should be brought with you to the appointment. Evaluation for other injuries, such as injured gums or a broken jaw, or damage to the permanent tooth underneath should be done. It is also helpful for the dentists to know about the injury to plan appropriate long-term care. Ultimately, the knocked out baby tooth will go to the tooth fairy!
For a knocked-out permanent tooth, you should find the knocked out tooth because re-implanting will be the main goal. Make sure to hold it by the crown, not the root. Handle the tooth as gently as possible. Briefly and gently rinse the tooth in water if there is visible debris on it; do not scrub anything off the root. If possible put the tooth back in the socket and have them bite with pressure on a washcloth or paper towel to hold the tooth in place. If it is not possible to replant the tooth, place it in a cup of cold milk.
In any case of a knocked out tooth, please call the office as soon as possible. It is important to re-implant permanent teeth quickly.
There are a few things you can do to help prevent dental injuries. Mouth guards or other protective gear can help protect those pearly whites from impact while practicing a sport. A properly fitted mouth guard can protect your child’s mouth from injury to the teeth, lips, tongue, or jaw. The office can discuss the best option for your child. These include custom and store-bought mouth protectors.
Orthodontic appliances also have the potential to become broken causing discomfort.
A loose or broken bracket can be repaired in the office. Make sure to bring any detached pieces to your appointment. A loose or detached wire can also be handled in the office. Call the office to schedule the repair as soon as possible.
Wax can help ease any friction-related discomfort, whether routine or the result of a broken appliance. Ibuprofen can also ease general soreness.
Emergency child dentistry after hours
If the emergency happens outside of normal business hours, don’t fear. We are always here to help. Call the office and your call will be forwarded to Dr. Susie or Dr. Laura’s cell phone. Leave a detailed message, including:
- your name
- your child’s name
- a phone number so they may call you back
- the kind of emergency (broken tooth, knocked out tooth)
- as much other information about the emergency as you know
The dentists will first ask questions to determine what type of care your child needs. They will also determine what follow-up care will be needed during business hours.
Dental emergencies happen, especially with active, on-the-go kids. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that 30% of children receive a dental injury by the age of 14. But parents and kids don’t need to fear emergencies with our trusted team on call. From Jacksonville to St. Augustine, St. Johns Pediatric Dentistry puts and keeps healthy smiles on happy kids, even through emergencies.