Emergency Care

Little boy having toothache

Dental Emergencies

The first thing to remember is to stay calm. Injuries to the mouth face and teeth happen frequently in children. Remaining calm and taking prompt action will help minimize the damaging effects of the injury, and lessen your child’s discomfort.

Second, assess whether or not you child’s injury involved hitting the head causing them to lose consciousness even for a brief moment. If this is the case, your child should see a physician immediately. Worry about the mouth and teeth later.

Third, try to stop any bleeding with a clean washcloth or gauze. As you do this, check for broken teeth and/or missing teeth. If there are missing teeth, look for them.

Broken Tooth

Contact us immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Gently clean or rinse dirt from the area around the break. Place a cold compress on the face in the area of the broken took to minimize lip or facial swelling.

Knocked Out Tooth

For permanent teeth – Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, not root. If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it in cold water, but DO NOT scrub or handle the root unnecessarily. Try to replace the tooth into the socket. Have the child hold the tooth in place by closing on a gauze pad or washcloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk or saliva.  Go to the dentist immediately. Time is important for saving the tooth, less than 30 minutes is the best.

For primary (baby) teeth – Baby Teeth are not re-implanted. The tooth fairy will be at work prematurely.


Clean the area around the tooth. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water and use dental floss to remove any trapped food between the teeth. DO NOT place aspirin on the gums or tooth. This will cause a burn to the gum tissues. If there is swelling, apply cold to the outside of the face. Speak with your pediatric dentist to see if acetaminophen or ibuprofen is appropriate for pain. Call us and we will help to determine the appropriate treatment.

Abscess or Bubble on Gum

This is caused by an infected tooth. The pulp or nerve inside the tooth is infected by decay or previous trauma. The abscess extends beyond the apex of the tooth into the surrounding bone, perforating the bone into the gum tissue causing a gum boil. The infected primary tooth can usually not be saved. However, this will be determined following a dental exam and radiograph.

Bitten Tongue or Lip or cheek

If there is bleeding apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or gauze. Apply an ice compress to the injured area. If bleeding does not stop, go to a hospital emergency room.

Possible Broken Jaw or Severe Blow to the Head

IMMEDIATELY go to the emergency room of your local hospital. A severe blow to the head can be life threatening.

Objects Caught between the Teeth

Try to remove the object with dental floss. You may tie one or two small knots in the floss to help remove the debris. Do not use a sharp metal object. If you cannot remove it, go to the dentist.

Bleeding After a Baby Tooth Falls Out

Fold a gauze pad or clean washcloth over the bleeding area. Keep it in place for 15 minutes, and then repeat as necessary.

Cold or Canker Sores

Some patients get cold or canker sores periodically. There is no definite cause for these although it could be due to stress, vitamin or zinc deficiency or may have a viral origin. Cold or canker sores usually last for 10-14 days. Treatment is aimed towards relieving the pain either with over-the-counter medication or prescription medication. If they persist or are extreme, see the dentist.

Emergency Coverage

If your child has a dental emergency, please call our office at 916-941-1122 If it is after hours, our answering service will have the doctor on call return you call as soon as possible.

Other Treatment Options

We know our patients have a choice in several different areas, so we go out of our way to deliver the level of care and compassion we would want for our own families.