Children’s Dental Emergency: What to do and who to call

Young toddlers and babies are known for being curious, and that can sometimes land them in a bit of trouble. It isn’t uncommon for children to injure their teeth because of a fall or bad knock.

Research shows that about 34% of young children have suffered some form of accidental trauma to their teeth. The riskiest age group is estimated between 18-40 months. Children aged 2 to 3 are at high risk for traumatic dental injuries (TDI) due to falls while learning to walk and run – falls are the most common cause of injury in primary teeth.

The second most common cause of TDIs are sports-related injuries, affecting 25% of individuals from ages 8 to 14. Some of the most common activities that result in dental trauma among children include soccer, baseball, skiing, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, martial arts, rugby and skating.

Dental trauma or injury at such a tender age can damage the gum and even the pre-erupted permanent teeth.


Parents and primary caregivers should be readily armed with the contact information of an emergency dentist.

If it is not possible to send the child to an emergency dentist, here are some of the things you can do to mitigate the dental problem before professional help is sought.


Knocked out the permanent tooth

The best thing to do immediately after the permanent tooth is knocked out is to gently rinse the tooth and place it in a container of milk and bring the child to see a dentist immediately.

If you cannot get to a dentist on time, gently re-insert the tooth back into the socket and have the child bite down firmly on a clean gauze or handtowel. By exerting pressure (with the biting) while holding the tooth in place, that gives the knocked out tooth the chance to settle back into position. If bleeding occurs, apply firm pressure to the site.


Cut lips, tongue or gums

Bitten lips, cheek or tongue are rather common and the wound tends to heal by itself.  To speed up the healing process and relieve the symptoms, you may apply ice to the swollen or bruised area can relieve the symptoms. If bleeding occurs, apply a firm pressure to the injury site until it stops. If bleeding continues beyond 15-20 minutes, send the child to the nearest emergency room for assistance. For cuts that are larger than quarter of an inch, it is best to bring the child to see your emergency dentist.


Broken or dislodged tooth

If you can see the reddish dental pulp exposed by the broken tooth, the child needs to be sent to a emergency room that offers specialised children’s dental services. If the tooth changes colour, send to a dentist immediately to make sure the nerves or blood supply to the tooth have not been compromised.

Collect the fragments of the broken tooth and see a dentist immediately. You may gently apply cold compress on the child’s face around the area of the injury.


Who to call during a child’s dental emergency

It’s a good idea to make sure the dentist you visit regularly answers to emergency call-outs and accepts after-hour bookings. During a dental crisis involving young kids, it is also important to know that the attending emergency dentist is able to work well with a child.


Find out why it is important to keep an Afterhours Canberra Dentist in your contact book. (after-hours Canberra dentist )

A dental emergency usually strikes when you least expect it. Knowing the right Child-Friendly, Afterhours Canberra Emergency Dentist to call will prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Our Canberra dentist at Molonglo Dental Surgery is fully equipped to handle dental emergencies involving children of all ages. If your child is experiencing any form of trauma or injury to their teeth, contact Molonglo Dental Surgery at 02 6287 1222. 

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