Dental Emergencies

Regular dental care helps prevent dental emergencies, but nothing can stop the unexpected from happening. Here are some of the more common dental emergencies and what you can do until you can get to our office. If your child is in pain, DO NOT wait to make an appointment. We will be happy to see you as soon as possible. If this is an after-hours emergency, please call our emergency line.


A toothache or sensitive tooth can be caused by several things, such as unseen cavities, cracks in the tooth, or nerve damage inside of the tooth. Contact us as soon as you notice your child is experiencing pain, as even slight pain left untreated can quickly progress into severe swelling and pain in the mouth and face. Over-the-counter pain relief medication can temporarily relieve the pain until your appointment. In-office treatment by your dentist will vary depending on the cause of the pain.

Bitten Tongue,
Lip, etc.

If your child bites their tongue, lip, or cheek hard enough to cause bleeding, we suggest applying firm pressure to the affected area with a clean cloth or gauze to stop the bleeding. You can also apply ice to any bruised or sore areas. If bleeding persists for more than 15 minutes and cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take your child to the emergency room immediately.

Broken Teeth

If your child breaks or chips a tooth, please contact our office immediately to allow your dentist to assess the situation and determine proper follow-up care. If the broken tooth is not treated, serious problems can develop. Use water to rinse out your child’s mouth to clear away any dirt, blood, or bacteria from the affected area. If you are able to locate the missing tooth fragment, keep in moist (milk or the patient’s own saliva is preferable) and bring it with you to the dentist, as we may be able to reattach it. In the meantime, you can lessen pain and swelling with over-the-counter pain medications, ice and cold compresses, and avoiding chewing on the affected area, or any hard/tough foods.

Teeth Knocked Out

If your child’s tooth is knocked out, call your dentist immediately and place the tooth (if you can find it) in water or a wet towel or cloth or a small container of milk or the patient’s salive. Do not scrub or wash the tooth or handle it by the root. The faster the tooth can be repositioned, the better the odds that the tooth can be saved. Time is crucial.

Loss of Crown
or Bridge

If your child’s crown or bridge falls out, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible to have it re-cement, if doing so is possible. Please do not attempt to perform this on your own with any over-the-counter products, as crowns or bridges that are not set properly can cause severe issues to themselves or surrounding teeth.

Lost Filling

If your child’s filling falls out, remove it from their mouth right away so that they don’t accidentally swallow it or chew down on it, damaging other teeth. Call your dentist right away to get the filling replaced as soon as possible. In the meantime, keep your child’s mouth clean and brush very gently. Rinse their mouth gently with warm saltwater or mouthwash. To prevent food particles and other bacteria from entering the tooth, have your child avoid chewing on that side. You can also use dental wax to fill the void until your appointment.

Swollen Gums

If you notice that your child’s gums are swollen, sore, and/or bleeding, contact our office immediately to discuss care with your dentist. Swollen gums are a sign of gum disease and infection which, if left untreated, can lead to loss of teeth, damage to the jawbone, and severe facial pain/swelling. To alleviate pain before your child’s appointment, rinse their mouth gently with warm saltwater.