You can never predict a dental emergency. That’s why they’re so frightening, especially if they involve your child. Unlike your typical oral ailment, it’s not always easy to pinpoint what went wrong during an emergency. Nor can you prepare for them. But while they do require quick, effective decisions, they can still be manageable if you know how to handle a dental emergency.
Sure, it can be stressful during the onset of the accident. Fortunately, responding to dental emergencies often follow the same mien. With the right precautionary actions in mind, you don’t have to worry about the worst.
That said, how do you handle a dental emergency? Here are some steps you can start with:
- Know what type of dental emergency it is
A variety of things can cause a dental emergency. Of all the causes, however, injury is the most common. In this case—particularly if your child knocked out their tooth—you’ll have to move fast to save the tooth. Other times, a terrible toothache might signal a dental emergency. It isn’t always, though, but some things indicate immediate help. If the pain, for instance, comes with an oral abscess, facial swelling, or a bleeding mouth, you might want to skip the emergency measures and head straight to the dentist instead. While you’re still figuring out what caused the dental predicament, it’s best to keep calm. Your child might be in a state of distress during the emergency, so when you check their mouth be as gentle as possible. During this time, take note of any signs of bleeding, additional injuries, or abscesses present. Aside from tooth avulsion and toothaches, other causes can include having something between your teeth and a chipped tooth.
- Apply emergency measures when needed
Once you’ve determined what caused the emergency, you can then determine which precautionary measures to use. In the case of any injury-caused emergencies, the first course of action is to stop the bleeding. Typically, you do this by placing gauze on the area and applying pressure to it. The next course of action depends on what type of emergency it is.
- For avulsed teeth, find the tooth. If it’s still inside your child’s mouth, encourage them to keep it there and encase it with saliva. If it’s knocked out of their mouths, look for it and rinse it in milk. When you do find it, hold it by the crown and try to reinsert it. If this isn’t possible or if your child is opposed to it, place the tooth in milk. Then, take your child to the nearest dentist.
- For chipped teeth, swish your mouth in some saliva to re-mineralize the chipped tooth. Afterward, head to the dentist as soon as possible.
- For toothaches, try to mitigate the swelling and pain as much as possible. An ice pack or pain relievers can help. You can also try to gently floss the area to loosen food particles stuck there or rinse it with warm saltwater.
- Head to an emergency dentist
Knowing what caused your child’s dental emergency and taking precautionary measures can help assuage the situation. It’s understandable if not everyone can steel themselves to do this, however. When in doubt, head to the nearest emergency dentist as soon as possible. There, the dentist can assess your child and treat them as quickly as possible.