Toothless Tot: How to Handle a Child’s Dental Emergency


To a parent or even an innocent bystander, some pediatric dental emergencies look catastrophic. There may be a lot of blood, the child’s screaming, there may be the terrifying idea that what just happened can’t be fixed.

But chances are there’s not that much blood, and it’s not so bad that it can’t be fixed if help is sought right away. Here are some tips on how to handle a child’s dental emergency.

Calm the Child

Calm the child down, and keep them calm while first aid is applied. If bleeding is not obvious, check to see if it’s present. If there is bleeding, try and stanch it by applying pressure. Clean the wound, then take the child to the dentist’s office or emergency room.

Knocked out Tooth

Try and find the tooth then pick it up without handling the root. Put it back in its socket in the child’s mouth and have the child bite down on gauze or a damp teabag. This actually helps keep the tooth viable.

If the tooth can’t be placed in the mouth, put it in a cup of milk, salt water or saliva as a last resort, and give it to the dentist. The tooth should be collected whether it’s a baby tooth or a permanent tooth.

Dental First Aid Kit

A dental first aid items should be packed in the trunk of the family car along with a regular first aid kit. It should contain such things as:

  • Gauze pads
  • Tooth storage unit
  • Small cup
  • Cold compresses
  • Mouthwash

Being prepared for a dental emergency can reduce the anxiety these accidents cause.


Some toothaches are caused by food stuck between the child’s teeth. The parent should gently rinse the area and try to remove the food with dental floss or a finger. Then, place a cold compress to the area of the cheek or jaw nearest the tooth.

On the other hand, there are toothaches that are so unbearable that they do require a trip to the emergency dentist. They’re often caused when gas is trapped in an infected tooth and presses on a nerve.

The thing to do is ply the child with ice water until they can see the dentist. Ice causes the gas to contract and brings temporary relief. The treatment for this type of toothache might be root canal therapy from a clinic such as Family 1st Dental. This procedure cleans out the infected pulp in the root of the tooth.

Many dental emergencies can be treated at home. However, if there is bleeding or pain that won’t stop, the child should be taken to an emergency dentist. This is the best way to save the tooth or teeth and prevent complications from injury.

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