Dental Emergency

Cut Lip or Cheek

Children love to play, and sometimes accidents may happen that result in them biting or cutting their tongue, lip, or cheek. Frequently these injuries are self-limiting and heal on their own. However, if these injuries occur and you notice facial swelling or a swollen cheek, please call our office for an evaluation. 

Facial swelling

When evaluating facial swelling, not to be confused with intraoral or inside the mouth swelling, we look for an asymmetry of the face. This should appear as though one side of the face is larger in some aspect compared to the other side. Although facial swellings are very rarely present on both sides of the face as a result of dental infections, a bilateral facial swelling is usually indicative of a medical issue. Small facial swellings with limited asymmetry, when evaluated at a dental office and determined to be caused by a dental infection, can be treated by removing the source of the infection (extraction of the infected tooth) and a one-week course of oral antibiotics. However, if facial swelling approaches the eye or has expansion into the lower jaw causing your child to have trouble breathing, this is a medical emergency, and you need to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Toothache or dental injury

If your child complains of a toothache, our doctors recommend relieving the pain with acetaminophen (Tylenol), NOT aspirin. Rinsing or gargling with room temperature saltwater has been shown to have cleansing properties and relieve mild discomfort. Please contact our office for an appointment as quickly as possible if the mild pain becomes acute or if any sign of facial swelling is noted. If your child accidentally breaks a tooth, quickly retrieve any pieces of the broken tooth and seek immediate dental attention, if possible.

Knocked out (Avulsed) tooth

Knocking out a permanent tooth is serious for your child, and quick reaction and timing are critical. Make sure you retrieve the tooth and only hold it by the crown or top and not the root end. You should rinse off the tooth but don’t try to clean it and don’t handle it more than necessary. Next, reinsert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place using a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If reinserting the tooth isn’t possible, put it in a cup of milk or water and see us immediately for an appointment.