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Dental Emergencies

What Are Some Dental Emergencies My Child Might Experience?

Dental emergencies are very common, though sadly quite stressful for both you and your child.

Your child is most at risk when they are toddlers, which is when they start exploring their surroundings. They are also more at risk during their pre-teen or teenage years when they may experience sports injuries.

Below are some of the most common dental emergencies:


Toothaches are normally caused by tooth fractures, tooth trauma, tooth decay and erupting wisdom teeth in teens.

If your child experiences toothache, you can help by:

  • Applying a cold compress to the area affected
  • Check for and remove impacted food, such as using floss, a toothbrush or even their fingers
  • Clean the area with warm water

Tooth Pushed Into Jawbone

Officially called dental intrusion, dental trauma can cause a tooth to shoot upwards into the jawbone. Sometimes, the force is enough to fracture the tooth’s socket.

If you suspect that your child has dental intrusion, contact your dentist immediately. Depending on the situation, they may wait for the tooth to come down on its own or will conduct root canal therapy.

Knocked Out Teeth

Contact your dentist right away if any teeth have been knocked out completely. Normally pediatric dentists don’t replace primary teeth, but will try to re-implant permanent teeth unless there is irreparable damage.

If a tooth has been knocked-out of the child’s mouth completely, it is important to contact a pediatric dentist immediately. In general, pediatric dentists do not attempt to re-implant avulsed primary (baby) teeth, because the re-implantation procedure itself can cause damage to the tooth bud, and thereby damage the emerging permanent tooth.

Time is of the essence when saving teeth, so keep in mind the following:

  • Handle the crown of the tooth only, and never the roots.
  • Rinse the tooth off if you can. Don’t scrub or scrape the tooth.
  • Keep the tooth moist. If the tooth dries out it will be less likely that your dentist can save it.
  • Re-implantation procedures are usually more successful when it’s done within an hour of when the tooth got knocked out.

Tooth Displacement

Different types of tooth displacement include:

Tooth luxation - This is when the tooth is still in the socket. It sticks out at an unnatural angle and sometimes the underlying jawbone is fractured.

Tooth Extrusion

This refers to teeth that are partially removed from the socket. For young children, these tend to heal themselves.

Root Fracture

Direct trauma is what usually causes root fractures. It’s almost impossible to detect it with the naked eye. If you suspect your child has root fracture, you will need to have your child take dental X-Rays at your dentist’s office. Your dentist will recommend the best option for treatment.

Dental Concussion

A “concussed” tooth has been knocked or banged on but hasn’t been dislodged from its socket. Dental concussions can lead teeth to discolor, more often in toddlers. There is no need for emergency treatment unless teeth turn black or very dark, which is a sign that teeth are dying.

If there are any questions, feel free to ask your dentist.


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