Childhood Dental Emergencies

Childhood Dental Emergencies

What you should do if your child suffers from tooth damage or dental pain.

With diligent cleaning and generally taking good care of our teeth, as adults we can at least minimise any dental treatment that we might need. We can also help our children to protect their teeth by encouraging and supervising good cleaning habits.

As most parents know though, children don’t tend to sit around for long periods of time and are off on their adventures, sometimes with painful consequences!

Whilst most of the problems discussed below can also happen to grown ups, it is children that are generally more at risk. Our Ipswich dental clinic offers advice on what you should do in these situations.

Knocked out teeth

Whether through sports or a collision in the playground, banged heads and knocked out teeth are not that uncommon. They can be distressing to a child though and the loss of a first tooth can also have an effect on how the following tooth develops. With this in mind, here is what you should do.

  • Pick up the tooth by the crown part. Do not touch the root. Rinse it in water to remove any dust etc.
  • If the child is old enough, they can store the tooth under their tongue or in the cheek. If not, it should be put in a clean container and milk or saliva (including the parent’s) added. This will help to preserve it.
  • Get to the dentist as quickly as you can. The faster you get there, the better the chance that the dentist can replace the tooth for you. Do not try to do this yourself.

Dental pain

Toothache can be excruciating even for adults but for children, it is likely to feel many times worse. If your child is suffering from a toothache, here is what you should do. If the problem is caused by teething, give your child age appropriate painkillers. Do make sure to read the instructions and medical advice on the packaging correctly.

If it is caused by tooth decay,  you can also give them appropriate painkillers, but then also make an appointment to visit one of the children’s dentists at the Foxhall Dental Practice as soon as you can. If you explain to the receptionist that your child is in pain, they will do their best to arrange a speedy appointment for you.

Damaged tooth

Cracked, broken or generally damaged teeth are not uncommon. You should have it looked at by a dentist as soon as you can. You may wish to give painkillers if they are in significant discomfort, but seeing a dentist should be your number one priority. If the damage has been caused by a serious blow, you would be advised to go to the A&E first to make sure that there is no serious head trauma.

Objects stuck between the teeth

Kids put things in their mouths, often things that they shouldn’t, and, whilst we adults try to keep things out of reach, they will usually find something to put in their mouth that we don’t want them to. Occasionally, small parts of toys and other objects may get stuck between their teeth. If this happens you should:

  • Get them to swill water around the mouth and spit to see if this removes it.
  • If not, try brushing and flossing their teeth
  • If these gentle actions fail to dislodge it, don’t use an instrument to try to do so at home but see the dentist who will do this for you, reducing the risk of gum trauma.

Mouth ulcers

Ulcers are not uncommon in children. Mouth ulcers though can be sore and cause some discomfort. If your child has mouth ulcers, you should

  • Avoid giving them anything spicy or acidic to eat or drink as this will worsen the discomfort
  • Use lukewarm salt water to rinse the mouth out. This will sooth them and also help to keep the mouth clean
  • Over the counter gels can be used on the ulcers. This will help to both heal and soothe them and hopefully enable the child to sleep at night
  • If you notice that the child has a temperature or notice any other signs that concern you, this could indicate a viral infection and you should take your child to see the doctor for further investigation.

No parent likes to see their children suffer from toothache and we hope that the above advice helps you should the situation arise. For our part, the Foxhall Dental Practice will always try to see children as soon as we possibly can.  If you need an emergency appointment, please call us as early as you can after we have opened. If the practice is not open, such as during a Bank Holiday, you should still call our Ipswich practice on 01473 258396 where you will hear a recorded message advising what you should do next.