It's Saturday afternoon when your first grader gets kicked in the face with a soccer ball. The ball bounces. But your child's front tooth is bleeding and loose. Now what? Obviously, your kiddo needs care ASAP. But it's not exactly regular dental office hours right now. Your child is having a dental emergency. And that means they need an emergency dentist.
While there are these types of clear-cut dental emergencies, some aren't as obvious. Maybe your child falls and hits their mouth. Their mouth is bleeding, but there are no noticeable chips, cracks, or missing teeth. Or maybe your child claims to have a major pain. But they really can't pinpoint it in their mouth. Do you need an emergency dentist? Maybe. Or maybe not.
If you're not sure what a dental emergency really is or how to decide whether to bring your child to the office immediately, take a look at what you need to know to help you answer your questions.
Accidents and Injuries
Your child chips a tooth. There's definitely a small piece missing, or there's a noticeable crack. Does this require emergency treatment? Or can you wait until the next business day? Multiple factors go into assessing a chipped tooth. Some chipped teeth are minor injuries and don't require immediate professional intervention.
But some chips are more serious than others. Along with the visible breaks, your child could have a crack under the gum line, in the root. This type of problem requires immediate expert attention.
So how do you know if the injury your child sustained is a minor surface issue or something that's severe? You don't. Not unless you're a dentist and have access to their knowledge, tools, and expertise. Here's where the pros come in. A trip to the dentist (even if it's on a Sunday afternoon during emergency hours) is necessary. It gives your child the best chance of healing from the injury correctly and may help to reduce some of the pain that they're experiencing.
Mouth Full of Pain
It's Saturday night, and your child is complaining. No, not about watching TV or having a special snack. They're in pain. Your child is holding their mouth, has a hand holding their face, or is grimacing without a break.
There are more than a few reasons for a toothache. Your child could have bitten down on something sharp or hard, such as candy or ice, and cracked or chipped a tooth. If this is the case, look for noticeable signs of injury or damage. Again, like an injured tooth (due to an accident) there may be a problem in the root. In other words, you may not see the crack.
Other reasons for a toothache include a cavity, abscess or sore gums. Your child may also have absolutely nothing wrong with their teeth at all. A canker sore on the inside of the mouth can cause pain, as can aches in other parts of the face. If your child has, or recently had, a cold, it's possible that a clogged sinus or sinus infection is the culprit here.
In most cases, a toothache isn't an emergency situation. But if your child also has a fever, bleeding, swelling, noticeable redness or pus/oozing from anywhere in the mouth, call the dentist right away. Likewise, if the pain doesn't subside or your child truly seems miserable, the dentist will welcome your emergency call. It's always best to get a professional consult — even if the cause ends up being minor.
No parent wants to scramble during a dental emergency to find a dentist with evening or weekend hours. Finding a dentist who offers emergency services beforehand can save time, pain and possibly your child's teeth. If you need emergency services, Epps Village Family Dentistry, LLC can help.