Dental Emergency

October 1, 2023

Dental Emergency

As a mom of a toddler, and now a 9-month-old boy, I am always worried about them falling and smacking their mouth on the ground and loosing a tooth.  These types of things happen, and kids get teeth knocked out, crack or chip a tooth, or even bite a hole through their tongue or lip.  Some things are not considered emergencies, for example a tiny chip in the tooth (especially a baby tooth) is not considered an emergency, this will not affect the health of the tooth or gums around it, however it is good to ask your child’s dentist if there is anything you need to do.

What is an Emergency?

Kids love to run around and play, jump off the tallest things they can find, swing, throw/kick a ball around with their friends, or some play organized sports.  All of these activities are great for children, however there poses the opportunity for something to go wrong and the possibility for injury.  Sometimes these scenarios result in a child getting hit in the mouth which, if hit hard enough can crack or break a tooth or knock the tooth out completely.  These would all be considered dental emergencies, meaning you should call your child’s dentist immediately.  Your child’s dentist usually will have time slots left open for emergencies, and they will most likely give you some instructions on what to do before you go in.

What should you do?

In the event of a dental emergency it is important to follow the instructions that your dentist gave you if you called their office.  However if it’s a weekend and your child’s dentist doesn’t have regular office hours it is a good idea to be prepared and know ahead of time in case something were to happen.  Here are a few tips of what you can do.

  1. Knocked out baby tooth: call dentist office as soon as possible, do not replace tooth, this can cause damage for the adult tooth.
  2. Knocked out permanent/adult tooth: keep moist, if possible “try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root.  If that’s not possible, place it between your cheek and gums, [or] in milk… ”
  3. Cracked tooth: rinse mouth with warm water, this will clean the area.  Use a cold compress to help reduce swelling in the specific area.
  4. Bite tongue or lip: clean area and apply ice.

What can you do to prevent an emergency?

While it is impossible to prevent an emergency situation from happening, there are things you can do to reduce that risk.

  • If your child is playing sports have them wear a mouth guard.  
  • Do not chew ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candy.
  • Child proof your home if you have small children, falls can cause dental emergencies.
  • Do not use your teeth to cut anything.

In the event of an emergency, it is important to call your child’s dentist immediately.  Dental emergencies can happen after normal working hours, fortunately there will be a doctor on call to take care of all emergencies that may happen.  If you are unsure as to how to prevent or deal with a dental emergency, ask your dentist, they will be able to provide you with information that will better assist you.  In some cases your dentist will have information on their website.


  1. Ask Your Doctor About Emergency Care – AAPD
  2. Dental Emergency – Mouth Healthy
  3. Dental Emergencies: Introduction – Colgate Oral Care Center
  4. Emergency Information – Baker Pediatric Dentistry

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