Dental Emergencies

Dental Emergency Tips from Kids 1st Dental

Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing the teeth.

Some dental emergencies are:

  1. Tooth Ache
  2. Abscess
  3. Trauma
  4. Ulcerative soft tissue lesions
  5. Cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek

Tooth Ache

Usually occurs from:

  1. A very deep cavity that involves the pulp.
  2. Erupting tooth.
  3. Over-retained primary tooth.

We like to recommend that you give the child Tylenol or Motrin to help the child get some relief. Clean the area around the tooth thoroughly. Floss to dislodge any food particles.


Usually these lesions appear as gumboil in mouth or develops swelling of the cheek or lip. The area is tender to touch; reddish in color and children has throbbing pain. If the child's face is swollen apply a "cold" compress. Call our office or take child to the emergency room. It is usually necessary for child to start antibiotics.


Trauma to the teeth can fracture some part of the tooth or root and sometimes knocks the whole tooth out. The treatment decision and urgency to treat the tooth depends upon the severity of the fracture.

Knocked Out Tooth

For permanent teeth, time is critical in saving the tooth. Keep tooth moist at all times. Hold the tooth by the crown, and if the tooth is dirty, rinse the root in water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments. The tooth must not get dry. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If you cannot hold it in the socket immediately, put it in one of the following:

  • Emergency tooth preservation kit.
  • 3 to 4 oz of milk or saliva.
  • If none of these is practical, use water (with a pinch of salt, if possible).

Time is critical in saving the tooth. Primary teeth that have been knocked out typically are not replaced, because of potential damage to the permanent tooth. If injury is more sever there could be fracture of the jawbones, immediately go to the emergency room. 

Ulcerative soft tissue lesion

These are most commonly seen as canker sores or sometimes as an acute ulcerative lesion. Multiple painful sores appear on the mucous membrane and gingival tissues. The tissues inside the mouth appear fiery red, swollen, ulcerated, bleed easy and are very tender. The child usually runs a fever and does not eat. For temporary relief of canker sores apply an analgesic gel (e.g. Anbesol) over the affected area and keep it clean. For multiple ulcers in the mouth we need to consult with you for the management of the condition.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek

Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If the bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take child to hospital emergency room.

* There are many more emergency situations. However, when you notice any of the above situations please contact us and we will advise you properly and see you at our office if need be.