Cute young four year old child holding her cheek with a toothache

It is important to know what to do when your child has a dental emergency – especially when this happens at a time and place where professional assistance is not immediately available. Here’s how you can address common situations that children might go through.

Stuck Food

Food lodged between your child’s teeth causing a toothache is one of the most common dental “emergencies” children can have—especially young children with widely-spaced baby teeth. Medically speaking, this is not a life-threatening situation, but a child in pain will probably put up a terrible fuss. Be calm and patient; do not panic.

Rinse your child’s mouth with mildly lukewarm water; this may be enough to dislodge the food particle that is causing the problem. If this doesn’t work, try removing the particle with dental floss. Your child may still have a toothache after the offending piece is gone. This is to be expected; a cold compress right outside the injured area might help calm things down. Do not put painkillers or aspirin on the gum near the aching tooth. Remember the skin of your child’s gums is delicate and can get irritated easily. Do not use a pointed object to remove the particle, no matter how tempting this option may seem.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

When your child’s tooth is chipped or broken, collect the broken pieces and keep these in a sterile container. Rinse your child’s mouth with lukewarm water. If there is any bleeding, gently apply pressure on the affected area with a clean piece of gauze for ten minutes or until the bleeding stops. To address pain and swelling, apply a cold compress on the cheek or the part outside of the painful area.

Knocked Out Tooth

If your child’s tooth gets knocked out accidentally during rough play, gently rinse the tooth to remove any dirt that may be stuck to it, making sure you hold it by the exposed part (the crown) and not the root. If possible, reinsert the tooth into the socket, making sure it is positioned correctly.

A knocked out tooth has a better chance of being saved if it is reinserted within an hour. However, chances are your child will be hollering and unwilling to let you do this. If so, place the tooth in a cup of homogenized milk or a cup of water with a tiny pinch of salt and head to a Boise dentist or one near you. Do not scrub the tooth clean. If any tissue is sticking to the tooth, leave it alone.

Broken Braces Wire

When the wire of your child’s braces gets broken, the broken piece is bound to stick out and cause discomfort. Take a pencil and use the eraser end to gently push the wire into a more comfortable position. If it is impossible to do this, take a piece of cotton and place it as a shield between the broken wire and the gum or the cheek that it is rubbing against. See your dentist right away. Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut off the protruding piece; your child could accidentally swallow the broken-off piece, and that could cause a bigger problem.

Being Prepared for Dental Emergencies

Apart from being savvy with dental first aid, the best way to make sure you can respond to your child’s dental emergency is to have the support of a good dental clinic—one that is knowledgeable in the dental needs of children. Pick a clinic that understands young patients, uses the latest technology, and knows what is needed to deal with trauma and pain, especially with children.

Find a clinic that believes in equipping you for preventive and emergency dental care. A good indication that you’ve found the right place is when the clinic welcomes questions you may have. Then, make sure you have easy access to this clinic’s number at all times, and you will rest easy when emergencies come.

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