As children grow, they can experience all kinds of illnesses and injuries. One of your biggest roles as a parent is to determine when aches, pains, and accidents result in problems that mean your child needs emergency care.
When your child’s teeth are the problem, knowing what constitutes a dental emergency is critical for getting your child immediate, important care. Pediatric dentists Staci Brunell, DMD, and Priyanka Patel, DMD, from Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, explain how to tell if your child has a dental emergency.
Signs of a dental emergency
There are some dental emergencies that need to be dealt with immediately, while other problems can wait a day or two. The following are all indicators you could be dealing with a dental emergency.
A knocked out, unexplainably loose, or chipped tooth
Having a tooth that falls out, chips, or becomes loose from trauma or an accident is always an emergency. Without quick action, your child is at risk of losing a tooth or experiencing damage in the gum and mouth area.
During emergency dental care, our team focuses on saving any lost adult teeth, stopping the bleeding, and ensuring the area is clean and has no sharp edges or tooth shards remaining that could injure your child’s mouth.
Severe or uncontrolled gum or mouth bleeding
If your child has an injury in their mouth area that won’t stop bleeding, the bleeding needs to be stopped immediately to keep your child safe. Our team also assesses if your child needs stitches or other special care.
An injured jaw
A significant jaw injury, such as severe swelling or a potentially broken jaw, requires immediate dental attention. Your child’s jaw and teeth might need to be realigned through surgery or other procedures, and severe swelling can be life-threatening if not addressed immediately.
An object stuck in your child’s mouth or tooth
Anything that gets stuck in your child’s teeth or mouth needs to be removed right away by our dentists. Foreign objects that remain in your child’s mouth could cause serious injury, infection, or other damage or trauma.
Systemic dental infection
Severe, untreated cavities and other jaw or mouth infections that have spread to the rest of your child’s body can be dangerous if not treated right away. Your child could have an infection like this if they have a dental abscess or toothache and:
- A high fever (over 102 degrees)
- Swelling in the face
- Confusion or other mental changes
Some systemic dental infections can also cause nausea or vomiting.
Other urgent dental situations
There are certain other types of dental issues that require your child to see a dentist quickly, in the next few days, but are not immediate emergencies. Urgent dental situations include:
- Symptoms of cavities
- Mild facial swelling that doesn’t resolve on its own
You should also make an urgent appointment if your child’s orthodontic equipment is damaged or starting to cause discomfort.
If you’re uncertain if your child’s dental problem is an emergency, urgent, or routine, our team can help. Call us, or come into our office during opening hours, for further guidance and the next steps.