According to a study completed by Ohio State University, nearly half of all children will suffer some type of dental injury during childhood. Common causes include sports accidents, falls and biting down on a hard object. In most cases, these tooth and/or mouth injuries are easily treatable and not life-threatening. Parents want to ensure their child’s health and comfort in said dental emergencies, but do they know exactly what to do in these situations? Your emergency pediatric dentist in Poway explains how to handle common dental injuries.

What should I do immediately?

In the event of a dental emergency, there are some immediate steps to take before you visit the children’s dentist in Poway. Common issues and their immediate treatments include:

Cracked or Chipped Tooth

Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water and use a cold compress to reduce any facial swelling that occurs. If the tooth now has a jagged edge that could cause further pain, a piece of gauze should be held in place over its surface. If possible, locate the missing tooth fragment and bring it with your child to the dentist.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If your child knocks out a baby tooth, it is not a cause for true concern, as primary teeth do eventually fall out by themselves. Check the surrounding area to make sure that nothing more than the tooth has been injured. Contact your dentist if you believe further damage has occurred.

If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, hold it by the crown (not the root) and carefully rinse the surface with nothing else but water. Gently place the tooth back in its socket and hold it in place with gauze or a clean washcloth. If returning the tooth to the socket hurts, keep the tooth in a clean container filled with cold milk or your child’s saliva to maintain moisture. Reimplantation is possible if your child is seen immediately, so do not hesitate to contact your pediatric dentist.


Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress. Inspect the aching tooth and gently remove any food with floss. If pain persists, you can use children’s pain relivers, but make sure no medication comes directly in contact with the tooth or gum surfaces. Contact your dentist for further instructions.

Dental office or emergency room?

In the middle of a dental emergency, it can be hard to tell if you should bring your child to a pediatric dentist or an emergency room. It is important to know that only a licensed dentist can perform dental procedures. It is extremely rare for an emergency room to have a dentist on call.

ER doctors can only provide pain medication and antibiotics for serious infection, so you should almost always bring your child straight to the dentist. Pediatric dentists often have room in their schedules to attend to emergencies.

If you child has excessive bleeding that won’t stop with pressure, very severe pain or an infection, call 911 or visit an emergency room immediately.

How can I prevent dental emergencies?

While it is impossible to completely prevent dental emergencies, there are a number of simple precautions you can take to lower your family’s risk, including:

  • Make sure your child wears a mouthguard when playing sports
  • Instruct your child to only use scissors to open packaging — never their teeth
  • Limit their consumption of sticky, tough or hard foods, including the ice from drinks
  • Ensure that they brush and floss daily
  • Schedule biannual checkups and cleanings with your children’s dentist in Poway

Dental emergencies can be scary for both parent and child. Keeping these tips in mind should help alleviate your stress and your child’s discomfort. Always make sure to reach out to your pediatric dentist as soon as possible following a dental injury for fast and thorough treatment.

About the Author

At Bright Pediatric Smiles, Dr. Sam Tiep is committed to providing quality and friendly care to the youngest of patients. She has over a decade of experience in pediatric dentistry and has been recognized with the Charles Goldstein Award and the Doctors Out to Care Appreciation Award. Dr. Sam is board certified through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If you have further questions about treating dental emergencies, she can be contacted through her website or at 858-251-3313.

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