Dental emergencies never give you prior notice before they arrive. Parents struggle with knowing what to do, when to do it, and when to involve a professional. When in doubt, contact a member of our Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry team at (813) 576-0200 immediately. We act when your child’s dental health is at risk. Stay calm when dental emergencies strike with these tips for common dental injuries.
Injuries that cause a tooth to be knocked out are usually a little more on the severe side. Take the injury seriously and schedule a visit with Dr. Botero or your primary care doctor. If your child loses a permanent “adult” tooth, keep it moist by putting it in a container with milk. You can also choose to store it in some tooth preservation product recommended by the American Dental Association. Schedule a visit to our Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry office right away. A primary (baby tooth) does not require moisture. However, bring it to the dentist.
Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water. Use floss to gently try to remove any debris that may be stuck between the teeth–a common trigger for pain. Don’t use anything sharp to scope inside your child’s mouth to look for the toothache source. Assess the child’s pain that day. If it grows worse or if a fever sets in, call Dr. Botero immediately to rule out an infection.
Mouth sores will often resolve on their own, but they can take one to two weeks to do so. To ease your child’s discomfort, there are some over the counter remedies you can try. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain or fever. Cold liquids, ice, or frozen juice bars can also offer soothing relief. (Avoid spicy or acidic foods that would increase mouth sore discomfort.) Some parents find success with liquid antacid to help with the pain. For children older than 6 years old, a teaspoon (5 mL) as a mouthwash may be given after meals. For younger children, put the antacid on the mouth sore using a cotton swab. You can also try numbing gels. Salt-water rinses are also affective. Rinse their mouth with saltwater or with baking soda and warm water, then spit. The mouth rinse should not be swallowed.
Abscesses need help to heal and if ignored can harm the surrounding teeth or spread infection to your body. Eliminate the reason for the abscess–if known. Often a popcorn kernel or other piece of food will be trapped in the gums and need to be removed. The abscess will need to be drained to heal. Contact Dr. Botero immediately when you notice symptoms of abscessed gums. Sometimes an antibiotic will be necessary as well to treat infection.
For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water. This helps to clean out the area. After, apply a cold compress to the face to help reduce swelling and discomfort. Again, see Dr. Cat as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, parents, it is QUITE common for your child to suffer some kind of oral trauma during their time under your care. Knowing what to do in a dental emergency can make all the difference in that experience (for you and for your child). All dental injuries require an examination by a dentist as soon as you can. Neighboring teeth can suffer unnoticed injury only detectable with a dental exam or x-ray.
When dental emergencies happen, call our office at (813) 576-0200. We will do our best to help talk you through what is going on. If you are unable to reach us, use the above tips and guidelines on what to do during a dental emergency or visit your closest hospital.