Wondering what you should do about common dental emergencies in Rockville? As a parent, there are many different situations that you may encounter as your child grows, so it’s important to know when to get emergency dental care. Here are a few common dental emergencies and what to expect.
Children usually start to lose their baby teeth around the time they start kindergarten. It’s normal for your child to begin losing their front teeth (incisors). If the tooth was naturally loose and it falls out, this is not a big deal and just part of growing up.
However, if your child has a baby tooth knocked out prematurely due to trauma, this can be a problem. It is never recommended to re-insert a knocked out baby tooth (due to high risk of damage to the developing permanent tooth in that location), but the type of trauma that results in a knocked out baby tooth is serious and could have caused other damage that is not as readily visible as a missing tooth.
If you think your child lost a baby tooth due to trauma, call Shady Grove Pediatric Dentistry right away and we will fit you in. If your child can take an anti-inflammatory medication like Children’s Motrin, it’s a good idea to give them a dose to help with swelling and pain control. Try your best to find the tooth and bring it with you for us to examine. We will advise you on proper next steps after we examine your little one.
You need to see a dentist right away. If you see us within an hour, the tooth’s chances of long-term survival are best because we can reinsert the tooth into the socket and splint the tooth to the adjacent teeth. Follow-up care and root canal treatment with an endodontist (specialist in root canals) will be required within 1-2 weeks after the accident.
The best thing you can do is to hold the tooth by the white part (not the root!), rinse it under cold water for no longer than 10 seconds, and re-insert it into the socket yourself at the site of the accident. Replant it in a way that makes it match the tooth next to it, and have your child bite on a piece of cloth to stabilize the tooth until you can get to the dentist.
If replanting at the site of the accident is not possible, store the tooth in Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution (found at schools and some sporting events), or cold milk or saliva (by collecting spit in a cup or bottle), whichever is available. The options are listed in order of preference. Do not store the tooth in water. Above all else, be sure to seek professional dental help right away.
A minor tooth chip may not be a serious issue, and can be treated with dental bonding, which uses dental resin to reshape the tooth. Plenty of times no treatment at all is recommended, depending on the age of your child. However, a deeper chip can weaken the tooth, increase the risk of tooth decay and infection (from nerve exposure), and result in significant pain. Chipped teeth may also be very sharp and cut your child’s lips or tongue.
If your child chips a tooth, call our office right away to get an appointment for evaluation. We’ll help you determine the best method for dealing with the chipped tooth, and get them the help they need.
A toothache often indicates a serious cavity, or even an infected tooth. If your child’s toothache lasts more than 1-2 days and is causing them a lot of pain, especially at night, they are having a dental emergency.
Of course, there are other reasons your child could have pain in their mouth, so call our office as soon as possible for an appointment. Dr. Ball will do a problem-focused evaluation to determine the source of the pain and explain how to best address it.
Swollen gums can be a sign of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If your child has gums that look puffy and bleed easily during toothbrushing, they may have gingivitis. Come to our office for a diagnosis. Usually, regular teeth cleanings and proper at-home dental care can be used to resolve this issue.
If your child’s swollen and red-looking gums are not due to garden-variety gingivitis, there could be a different underlying issue. An inflamed appearance in the gums often accompanies many pediatric viral illnesses, or it could be associated with chronic mouth breathing. Rarely, swollen gums can be related to more serious issues. Dr. Ball will help you determine the source of your child’s swollen gums and suggest the right remedy.
If your child’s facial swelling is affecting one side of their mouth and is accompanied by a toothache, this can be an indicator of a serious dental infection. It is important to take your child to the dentist immediately.
If we can extract the tooth that is the culprit behind the facial swelling, we may offer to do it right away, combined with a course of antibiotics to address the facial swelling. We also may refer your child to an oral surgery colleague if the nature of the infection is beyond the scope of our practice. Sometimes oral antibiotics are ineffective to reduce the swelling and your child may have to visit a hospital ER for IV antibiotics.
Letting the infection persist could cause potentially serious health conditions. Don’t delay. Contact Shady Grove Pediatric Dentistry right away at (240) 848-7074.