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When Is Emergency Dentistry Necessary?

When Is Emergency Dentistry Necessary?

Every year, over 2 million people go to emergency rooms for tooth pain and other dental emergencies. However, since many hospitals aren’t equipped to deliver emergency dentistry, taking your child to a dental provider can give them the best chance of getting the right care as soon as possible.

Emergency dentistry specialist Staci Brunell, DMD, and our staff at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, provide expert care for dental emergencies including broken or chipped teeth, dental pain, and tooth loss. Our professional and caring team works to put your child at ease while delivering the dental services their emergency condition requires. 

Knowing what qualifies as a dental emergency and how to handle these situations can help you act effectively when your child needs immediate dental care.

What are dental emergencies?

While many conditions can cause a tooth injury or mouth pain, a dental emergency and the need for immediate emergency dentistry is usually defined by one or more of the following characteristics:

How can emergency dentistry help?

Emergency dentistry provides the dental services necessary to resolve your child’s urgent dental needs. Here is how emergency dentistry can make a difference in some common types of dental emergencies:

Knocked-out or loose tooth

Sports injuries, auto accidents, and everyday childhood activities can knock out or loosen your child’s tooth. Without emergency dentistry, your child is at risk of losing the affected tooth because of damage to the tooth socket or tooth root. 

Getting your child to our office within 30 minutes to an hour of the traumatic incident can give the affected tooth the best chance of survival. If your child loses a tooth, do the following:

Cracked, chipped, or broken tooth

A cracked, chipped, or broken tooth also requires emergency dentistry. Whether your child damages their tooth from a sports mishap or biting down on a hard piece of candy, a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth can expose the tooth pulp or root and cause severe pain. 

Ignoring a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth can also increase the risk of infection. An untreated infection can cause tooth loss and potentially affect other parts of your child’s body if it spreads through their bloodstream. 

If you can find the broken or chipped piece of the injured tooth, it’s critical to save it correctly. Follow the same steps as those recommended for preserving a knocked-out tooth. Rinse the tooth piece in water and keep it in a container of cold milk until you can get to our office. 

Soft tissue injuries

Dental trauma can damage more than your child’s teeth. Cuts and bites can damage soft tissue like your child’s tongue, lips, or gums, resulting in bleeding. Unfortunately, when saliva combines with your blood, it can be difficult to determine the extent of the injury. 

Try to clean the damaged area and stop the bleeding to assess the nature of your child’s injury. If your child experiences a deep soft tissue injury, they may require stitches or other emergency dentistry services to support healing and prevent infection.

If possible, help them rinse their mouth with saltwater. Attempt to control the bleeding by applying gauze or an unused tea bag over the injury for 20 minutes. Holding a cold compress to your child’s cheek for 10 minutes can also reduce pain and bleeding.

If bleeding continues after 20 minutes of pressure, contact our office. Continue to apply pressure to the affected area until your child receives treatment.

Toothaches and abscesses

Your child can experience a toothache or abscess as a result of an infection in their teeth or gums. An abscess is an accumulation of pus that forms at the site of an infection. 

If your child has signs of an oral infection, they require immediate treatment. Don’t attempt to treat an abscess. While your child may feel some pain relief if the abscess drains, the release of pus can allow the bacteria to infect other areas of your child’s mouth or travel through their body causing sepsis, a dangerous medical condition. 

If your child complains of intense and/or persistent tooth pain or experiences tooth swelling, call our office to arrange an immediate examination. 

Emergency dentistry can help preserve your child’s damaged teeth and protect their overall wellness. If your child experiences a dental emergency, contact our office to arrange an emergency consultation.

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