A: Just by knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s tooth. Below are some helpful hints on things to do in specific situations.
• Cracked or broken tooth. Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Apply a cold compress to the face to keep swelling down. Take your child to his or her dental care provider immediately. If possible, take the tooth fragment with you because it may be possible for your dentist to bond the fragment to the tooth.
• Possible jaw fracture. Place a cold compress to the area to control swelling. Take your child to your dentist or a hospital emergency room right away.
• Knocked out tooth. Try to keep the knocked out tooth moist at all times. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root of the tooth if it is dirty. Avoid touching the root and do not scrub the root because you do not want to disrupt or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert the tooth back into the socket and hold in place by the crown until reaching your dentist or emergency room. If it’s not possible to replace the tooth into the socket, put it in an emergency tooth preservation kit, the mouth (next to cheek), milk or water with a pinch of salt.
Information provided by Jennifer Grove, D.D.S., P.C., Grove & Platt Dental Associates, PLC, 1541 S. Third St., Suite 300, 986-4001 and the American Dental Association.