We Offer Pediatric Urgent Dental Care

Does your child have a dental emergency? If so, one of our dentists is available to help! While we encourage regular cleanings and examinations for pediatric (and adult) oral health, sometimes the unexpected happens, which is why Smile Center for Kids offers emergency treatment during normal
business hours and we are available by phone after hours if needed.

We are often able to see patients on the same day of an emergency and we welcome walk-ins. If the emergency occurs after business hours one of our doctors will determine if a same-day after-hours visit is needed after completing a phone consultation.

Parents’ Guide to Pediatric Dental Emergencies

If an accident results in dangerous injuries to areas other than the mouth, the child should receive emergency treatment at the hospital first. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main reasons to bring your child in for emergency dental care.

Severe Toothache

While it’s normal for children to experience discomfort when teething or when working on a loose tooth, a severe toothache could be due to a problem worth an urgent trip to the dentist, such as a tooth infection, a crack in a tooth, or even an abscess. While an older child can easily tell you about their toothache, babies and toddlers don’t have the words for it yet. Signs to watch for include:

  • Fussiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constant rubbing of the teeth, gums, and/or jaw
  • Sudden changes in eating habits, including refusal to eat
  • Chipped, Cracked, or Broken Tooth

If your child cracks, chips, or breaks a tooth (particularly a front tooth), get them straight to an emergency pediatric dentist. What you can do beforehand is find the broken tooth fragments and place them in cold milk to preserve them. You can also rinse their mouth out with water. Do not use soap on the tooth fragments.

Never ignore a crack or chip, because if the damage is deep enough to expose the dental nerve, the tooth is in danger of infection, which can lead to the death of the nerve, a painful dental abscess, bone loss, and worse.

Knocked-Out Tooth

Call the dentist right away if your child loses a baby tooth in an accident, especially if it wasn’t loose beforehand. Since that tooth will be replaced eventually anyway, this might not seem serious, but there may be other, less obvious damage.

If an entire permanent tooth is knocked out, get to the dentist as fast as you safely can, because the clock is ticking on the fate of that tooth. If the dentist sees your child within an hour of the accident, the tooth can usually be saved. You can improve the tooth’s chances by putting it back in the socket and holding it in place with clean gauze or a washcloth. If it won’t go back in, storing it in cold milk will also help. A strong word of caution, however:

  • Do NOT handle a knocked-out tooth by the root.
  • Do NOT let it dry out.
  • Do NOT scrub it clean or use any soap, alcohol, or peroxide on it.

Doing any of these things will kill the root, at which point it will be much harder or even impossible to successfully replant.

Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a pocket of pus in the jaw caused by a bacterial infection, usually one that started in the dental pulp and worked its way into the jaw. Abscesses can be very painful and even pose a threat to overall health due to the risk of the infection reaching the bloodstream. A child with a dental abscess should receive treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms of an abscess include:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • A foul taste
  • Bad breath
  • Redness and swelling in the gums or around the affected tooth
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck or under the jaw
  • Fever

Facial Trauma

The most common sport or vehicle-related facial injuries are tooth injuries and lower jaw fractures. These injuries can lead to permanent disfigurement and loss of function without treatment. A child with facial trauma may need emergency room treatment before receiving dental treatment.

Excessive Bleeding

Flossing shouldn’t cause bleeding when we use the right technique (form a C-shape around the tooth and work down under the gum tissue instead of snapping straight onto the gums), but excessive bleeding after flossing indicates poor gum health, which needs to be treated by the dentist.

A Broken Filling

If a filling breaks or falls out, it creates an avenue for bacteria to reach the pulp inside the tooth, which could lead to a more serious problem like an infection or abscess. As in the case of a cracked, broken, or chipped tooth, you should bring your child in for emergency treatment as soon as possible.