How to Handle Dental Emergencies for Kids

Dental emergencies are always stressful, especially when they happen to your children! Just remember that dental emergencies for kids are also very common. At least one-third of all children will experience some type of dental trauma in their youth, so dentists are trained and prepared to handle any possible situation.

Here’s what you should know about dental emergencies for kids and how to best respond when your own child faces a difficult and urgent dental issue!

What Is a Dental Emergency for Kids?

A dental emergency is defined as an urgent health problem involving the teeth, gums, and mouth. It’s usually a problem that can’t wait for a next-day appointment. When your child suffers a dental emergency, he needs to see a dentist right away.

Here are a few examples of dental emergencies:

  • Severe toothache, especially pain that prevents sleep and daily function
  • Swelling of gums, face, or neck
  • Bleeding in the mouth that doesn’t stop
  • Trauma from an injury

It’s important that you can recognize the signs of dental emergencies so that you know whether to call your dentist or use home care techniques. Learn more about the most common dental emergencies for kids so you can just to action in a moment of crisis.


Your child may experience unbearable tooth pain for a few different reasons. Some pain is minor, such as the discomfort of a loose tooth, but other types of pain require attention from your pediatric dentist.

If your child’s toothache is caused by a cavity, untreated decay, or another unexpected issue, call your dentist without delay. A basic over-the-counter pain reliever like Children’s Tylenol can be used until your pediatric dentist addresses the source of tooth pain and helps to resolve it.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If your tooth gets knocked out as a result of physical activity or an unexpected blow to the head, locate the tooth and pick it up from the crown. It is essential that you do not touch the root of the tooth. If it is covered in dirt, only saliva and milk can safely clean your tooth and prevent additional tissue damage.

The best option after your tooth falls out is to position it back into its socket while you travel to the dentist or hospital. The saliva in your mouth will improve the chances of your tooth being successfully re-implanted. However, if it isn’t possible to put the tooth back in your mouth, store it in milk, not water, as water is unable to preserve the integrity of your tooth.

Injured Cheek or Lips

This is one of the most common childhood dental emergencies. Your young child is playing on the swingset, running after a soccer ball, or jumping on the couch, until he suddenly falls and a tooth punctures his cheek or lips.

Some cheek and lip injuries can heal on their own, even though the amount of blood this type of injury causes looks worse than it is. Apply firm, direct pressure to the area using a clean cloth or gauze. Ice helps reduce swelling as well. However, if the bleeding won’t stop or your child is in too much pain, call your emergency dentist for guidance. In some cases, stitches may be necessary.

Cracked Tooth

In some injury cases, your child’s tooth with crack or break but not fall out. This might happen if your child eats hard candy or gets hit in the head. In the case of a broken tooth, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water to clean the affected area and use a cold compress to prevent excessive swelling. The sooner you get over to the dentist, the better!

How to Find an Emergency Dentist in Vista, CA

If your child suffers a dental emergency, you don’t have to panic. Simply call or visit All Smiles Children’s Dentistry in Vista, California. As a pediatric dentistry specialist, Dr. Houri is an expert at handling dental emergencies for kids.

You can trust Dr. Houri to gently and efficiently treat your child’s dental emergency and help his mouth return to full health once again. Call (760) 734-4400 to learn more or book an appointment online today.

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