Dental Emergencies

What to do if your child experiences a dental emergency:

First and foremost, try to stay calm.  Injuries to the mouth, face and teeth can happen frequently in children. Remaining calm and taking decisive action will help minimize the damaging effects of the injury, and lessen your child’s resulting discomfort.

Make sure that your child did not suffer a head injury: If your child’s injury involved hitting their head and causing them to lose consciousness even for a brief moment, your child should see a physician immediately. The mouth and teeth should be addressed as a secondary concern. Call an ambulance or get to the nearest hospital emergency room as quickly as possible. A severe blow to the head or jaw is considered dangerous and can even be life threatening. If urgent dental care is needed, please call your pediatric dentist. We are here to help and have an emergency number for after-hours care.

Stop the bleeding: Try to stop any bleeding with a clean washcloth or sterile piece of gauze. As you do this, check for broken teeth and/or missing teeth. If there are missing teeth, try to locate them, and place them in a cup of milk, or if that is not available, you can use saliva or saline.

Additional information on how to deal with dental emergencies:

Broken Tooth

Call your pediatric dentist immediately. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use a cold compress on the area to keep any swelling down if the lip was injured. If the fracture is large and possibly involves the nerve, immediate care is needed to minimize the risk for infection and more extensive dental treatment. If you can locate the fragment of the tooth, place it in milk and bring it with you to the dental office.

Loose Tooth

If your child has a very loose baby tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled.  If your child has a loose permanent tooth call your pediatric dentist .

Knocked Out Baby Tooth

The tooth may have already been wiggly prior to the injury. If you are unsure, call your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Unfortunately, re-implanting the tooth is not indicated due to the risk of damage to the developing adult teeth.

Knocked Out Adult Tooth

Hold the tooth by the crown (the part of the tooth you can see when the tooth is in place) and rinse off the root of the tooth with milk if it’s dirty. Do not touch the root surface.  Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket with finger pressure or by biting down on a wash cloth. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk, saliva or water and get to your pediatric dentist immediately. Remember to take the tooth with you!

Objects Caught Between Teeth

Try to gently remove the object with dental floss; avoid cutting the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, contact your pediatric dentist.


Contact your pediatric dentist to set up a first available appointment. Rinse your child’s mouth with warm salt water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. You can use over-the-counter children’s pain medication following the directions based on your child’s age and weight to help relieve the pain.  If there is facial swelling contact your pediatric dentist immediately as your child may need to go to the emergency room for antibiotics.

Broken Jaw

Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Go to your pediatric dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.