A staggering 3.5 billion people worldwide have at least one oral disease, with tooth decay being the commonest oral condition. Children make up a significant percentage of people with oral illnesses, with untreated caries affecting about 20 percent of all children aged between 5 and 11 years.
While most parents go out of their way to prevent cavities in toddlers and their older children, sometimes dental emergencies arise. Unfortunately, many parents don’t know exactly what constitutes a dental emergency. Hence they don’t always make the much-needed emergency dental visit to get their children the timely help they need.
It’s why we prepared this comprehensive guide about dental emergencies in children. If you notice the following about your child, make a dental appointment right away.
1. Your Child Has Cracked or Chipped Teeth
It’s quite common for children to crack or chip their teeth in falls. Many don’t even feel any pain. But a chipped or cracked tooth is a dental emergency because if ignored, the chip or crack could worsen.
Where the chip is tiny, clean, and hardly noticeable, it may not be a huge concern. Just keep inspecting it and alert your dentist during your next dental visit.
If there’s a crack running vertically or diagonally across your child’s tooth, see a dentist right away. Such breakage can deepen and get closer to the root of the tooth. That would cause sharp pain or structural damage to the tooth.
2. Your Child Has Persistent Tooth Pain
Has your child mentioned pain in one or more teeth? Give them child-safe OTC medication, such as ibuprofen. In most cases, the pain will lessen or clear up within a few hours.
If the pain persists, consider calling your pediatric dentist to set up an emergency appointment.
Sharp tooth pain may be caused by various things. Usually, the issue is root damage or tooth decay. It may be necessary for the dentist to fill the cavity or remove the teeth entirely to alleviate the pain.
3. Your Baby Has Recurring Jaw Pain
Sometimes, the pain isn’t in the teeth. It’s in the jaw. While the problem may not be the result of a serious disease, jaw pain can be very uncomfortable to live with.
In most cases, jaw pain occurs when your child tries to chew or open their mouth to yawn. The pain may be caused by clenching the jaw a lot. Many people do that when asleep.
When you visit a dentist, they’ll recommend the best way to address the cause of the problem. Many dentists recommend a special bite guide to be worn while asleep. The bite guard keeps your child’s jaw relaxed.
4. Their Adult Teeth Have Been Knocked Out
Losing baby teeth is no big deal. After all, baby teeth are soon replaced by adult teeth. But when your child has lost an adult tooth, it’s another story. Adult teeth are supposed to last a lifetime.
If your child’s adult tooth falls out during an accident, pick it up by the crown and rinse it off with water. Avoid touching the root by all means.
Try to put the tooth back in its socket as gently as possible. If you can’t do this, toss the tooth in a glass of milk and call your dentist to make an emergency appointment. An experienced dentist may be able to reinsert the tooth.
If it’s impossible to get the original tooth back into its position, your dentist will make your child an alternative tooth. This way, it won’t be possible to tell the difference.
5. Your Child’s Gums Bleed Excessively
From the moment the first tooth appears, child tooth-brushing should start. From time to time, your child may notice some pink in the sink when brushing and flossing.
An occasional bit of pink is no dental emergency. However, it’s a sign that your child should pay extra attention to the sticky plaque around their gums.
Where the bleeding is considerable, that’s a sign of trouble. Excessive bleeding indicates tooth infection that might require antibiotics. Gently clean the bleeding area and apply a bit of pressure using a damp rag or paper towel.
Once the bleeding stops, call a dentist right away to schedule an emergency dental treatment.
6. The Jaw Is Swollen
Children fall and experience jaw swelling all the time. Sometimes, the fall is bad enough to dislocate or break the jaw. A dislocated or broken jaw can be incredibly painful.
Some children have surprising pain tolerance, and you may not know what’s going on under that swollen jaw. That’s why you need to take action the moment you notice jaw swelling. If your child has difficulty opening their mouths, chewing, or talking, you may want to take them to the dentist immediately.
7. There’s Swelling or Pus Around One or More Teeth
Tooth pain can sometimes be accompanied by other symptoms, such as swelling or pus around the painful area. These symptoms make it much easier to know what the problem might be.
If you notice swelling or pus around your child’s tooth, the tooth may be abscessed. The dentist should be able to address this issue quickly by doing minor dental surgery.
8. Your Child Is Losing Teeth Too Quickly
In many children, baby teeth fall out without the usual warning signs. However, your child shouldn’t be losing multiple teeth at once and too frequently.
Where frequent tooth loss is accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, pain, and the swelling of lymph nodes, that’s a major cause for alarm. Visit a pediatric dentist as soon as possible to know the problem.
9. Your Child Has a Minor Mouth Injury That Doesn’t Heal
Burning the roof of your mouth with a hot beverage occasionally is normal. As a one-time affair, this shouldn’t worry you. In most cases, such minor injuries heal within a day or so.
However, if your child’s palate is still burning weeks after they had a minor injury, something is seriously wrong. The same is true for a swollen tongue or inflamed gums. If these injuries aren’t going away, an emergency trip to the pediatric dentist may be necessary.
Know When To Make an Emergency Dental Visit
As a parent, it’s important to know what goes on in the mouth of your child. If you notice any of the symptoms we’ve talked about in this guide, it’s time for an emergency dental visit.
Are you looking for reliable pediatric dental services? Please contact us today.