Are you overlooking the importance of your child’s dental health? Studies have shown that on average, children with poor oral health receive lower grades than students with healthy mouths. While regular check-ups can help prevent tooth issues from developing over time, you also need to prepare for the possibility of oral health emergencies during your child’s life. So, what are some of the most common pediatric dental emergencies and how can you handle them if they arise?
Keep reading this guide for a thorough overview that answers those questions.
You may be tempted to downplay the severity of dental decay (also known as cavities) because it’s fairly common. But, it can develop into a more serious problem if left untreated.
And, don’t make the mistake of thinking that cavities on baby teeth should be ignored either. Even though your child will eventually lose that tooth, the cavity should still be treated, especially if it’s causing your child pain.
The best way to prevent dental decay is to make sure your child goes in for a check-up every six months, starting from the time their first tooth appears.
It’s normal for your teeth to feel a little sensitive when drinking or eating something very warm or very cold. However, extreme sensitivity can be the sign of a more serious issue.
If your child starts complaining about tooth sensitivity, it’s best to take them to a pediatric dentist to determine the severity of the issue.
Is your child complaining about a sore tooth? While this pain may go away on its own after a day or two, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
In the best case scenario, there could be food caught between the teeth or in the gums that’s causing your child pain. To determine if that’s all it is, have your child swish warm water around their mouth to loosen anything that’s stuck.
Then, you can help them floss between the teeth. If the pain does not go away, that’s an indicator that you need to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist office.
If you have an older child who’s gotten fillings to treat cavities, it’s possible for the filling to become loose over time. In the worst cases, the filling will become completely dislodged and be lost for good.
Whether your child has a loose or lost filling, it needs to be replaced right away.
Chipped or Broken Tooth
Over the course of a normal childhood, it’s not uncommon for kids to chip a tooth, whether through playing a sport, falling down, or just plain bad luck.
In the case of a chipped tooth, you’ll notice that a small part of the tooth is gone, and it’s usually very obvious what has happened. A broken or cracked tooth may be a bit harder to identify, since the tooth may look whole at first glance.
If your child sustains a hit to their tooth, you can place a cold compress on the area to help relieve swelling and pain. Then, make sure to watch the tooth carefully to look for signs of a change in the tooth’s color, which indicates a serious issue.
Even if everything looks ok initially, it’s best to err on the side of caution and visit a pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
A dental avulsion, or a knocked out tooth, occurs as a result of trauma, such as being hit in the mouth with a ball.
When this happens, try to find the tooth and keep it with you when you bring it to the dentist. But, you must handle it very carefully, and try not to touch the roots, as this could make it harder for the dentist to reattach it.
Moisture is also important for preserving the tooth, so you can place it in a glass of milk or saliva to help prepare it for reimplantation.
By caring for the tooth and getting to an emergency pediatric dentist as quickly as possible, you’ll have the best chance at getting the tooth reimplated with success.
In some causes, your child may suffer an accident that causes their tooth to become displaced, but not fully knocked out. In this case, you’ll see that the tooth now sits at an unnatural angle or it’s only partially in the socket.
In the case of baby teeth, this issue often fixes itself and isn’t too much to worry about. But, if this happens to your child’s permanent teeth, it needs to be fixed by a pediatric dentist.
Likewise, a serious trauma to the face may cause a tooth to push up into the jawbone, which could damage the ligament of the tooth. In some cases, a root canal is required for treatment.
If this happens to your child, immediately contact an emergency pediatric dentist and place an ice pack around the affected area to help prevent swelling.
Like many of the emergencies discussed above, a root fracture happens as a result of trauma to the jaw. However, you can’t see a root fracture, which means it’s much easier to overlook.
Anytime your child suffers trauma to the jaw, it’s best to take them in for treatment, just in case. Your pediatric dentist will take x-rays to determine if there’s a root fracture and treat it accordingly.
Another emergency that can occur at the root of a tooth is a dental abscess. This is when an infection forms in the tooth’s root, causing extreme mouth pain.
It’s critical to get a dental abscess treated as quickly as possible because it can spread to nearby teeth if it’s ignored. If your child complains of a sore tooth and you notice swollen gums accompanied by a fever, there’s a good chance they have an abscess.
Here to Help During Pediatric Dental Emergencies
When your child suffers from pediatric dental emergencies, it’s a scary and stressful time. The Brentwood Pediatric Dentistry team is here to help care for your child and give them the best care possible.
If you find yourself in need of emergency pediatric dental care, give us a call! Otherwise, schedule an appointment today to help prevent serious dental issues down the road for your little one.