Dental Emergencies: When to Call the Dentist

Dental Emergencies

No parent wants to see his or her child suffer.  And yet, the active lifestyle of children often means that some part of their body is injured.  Some of the scariest injuries happen in the mouth.  While minor complaints can often be treated at home, there are a few dental injuries that should have you automatically contacting your dentist for an emergency visit. Here are the main reasons to take an unexpected trip to the dentist’s office:

Knocked Out Tooth

Whether through an ill-placed punch or a fall to the ground, a knocked out tooth can be both extremely painful, as well as cause other potential dental problems.  If a tooth is completely displaced, call your dentist immediately to see if you can come in.  If the tooth is a baby tooth, leave it out of the mouth (though bring it with you).  If it is a permanent tooth, try to place the tooth back into the socket (hold it gently with a clean washcloth) until the dentist can see your child.  If this causes your child pain, place the tooth in a glass of milk to keep it from being damaged. Always bring the tooth (or any pieces of the tooth) with you.

Broken/Chipped Tooth

This happens when the tooth is damaged but not knocked out of the socket.  This is an injury that needs to be taken care of as quickly as possible.  Give your child a cold compress to hold against his mouth and take him straight to the dentist’s office.  Wrap any tooth fragments in a wet cloth and bring them with you so that the dentist can repair the damaged tooth.


If you child is complaining of a toothache, the first step is to give him/her some pain reliever.  Just make sure that any aspirin does not come into contact with the tooth or gum. Toothaches are often signs of more serious problems, so make an appointment to visit as soon as possible.

Jaw Injury

The jaw has an important connection with the rest of the mouth, and any injury to the jaw could have an impact on your child’s teeth. The first place to visit for an injured jaw is the emergency room.  However, as soon as your child is released, you should take him to your dentist to ensure that his teeth have not been compromised.