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Dental Emergencies

If your child has sustained a head injury, fracture to the jaw or other bodily injury, or needs immediate medical attention you should visit your nearest emergency department. (UWS – nearest hospital is Mount Sinai West at 1000 10th Avenue at 58th Street).  Keep in mind that it may be quicker for help to arrive to you; in such cases, call 911.

  • For non-life threatening emergencies, during office hours, call our office at 646-558-6058 to inform us of the nature of the emergency so that we may prepare for your visit (such as dental trauma, toothache, swelling, etc.).
  • For after-hours questions regarding a dental emergency, you may leave a message for one of our three doctors. Please keep in mind these numbers are NOT intended for emergencies requiring immediate attention or for non dental-related questions. Please do not expect to receive an immediate response, but the doctors will do their best to respond ASAP. Please leave a detailed message regarding the nature of your call.

For more detailed information about dental emergencies read below:

  • As your child grows and becomes active, it is very important to understand that trauma to the face, head and teeth that can occur as a result. The greatest incidence of trauma to the baby teeth tends to happen around the age of 2-3 when children are very active and motor coordination is developing.
  • Emergency care and trauma can be a very scary and frustrating situation for both you and your child. First thing to remember is to stay calm and to remember that your pediatric dentist is there to help. Here are some helpful FAQs to help.
What do I do if my child falls and hurts his/her teeth?

First, remain calm. If your child has knocked a tooth out, find the tooth, trying to avoid touching the root of the tooth. If it is a baby tooth, DO NOT place it back in the mouth, but visit the dentist to ensure no other trauma has occurred (placing a baby tooth back in can cause long-term damage to the permanent tooth bud). If a permanent tooth is knocked out, rinse with cool water only (not scrubbing) and gently try to reinsert it into the socket where the tooth was. If that is not possible for whatever reason, place the tooth in a glass of cold milk and visit the pediatric dentist immediately (the faster you act the better chances of saving the tooth). If your child’s tooth was not knocked out, it is still important to visit the pediatric dentist to fully assess all injuries, including providing antibiotics where necessary. Any fractured pieces of teeth should also be saved and brought to the office. If your child experienced a blow to the head or jaw, he/she needs immediate medical attention as head injuries can be life-threatening.

What do I do if my child has a toothache?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain; do not place aspirin on the teeth or gums. Aspirin should not be given to your child in any form. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible. If your child should have swelling visible outside the face, it is very important to see a dentist right away or, during off hours, visit your nearest emergency room as this could develop into a serious condition.

How can I prevent dental injuries?

Your child’s risk for dental injuries can be reduced greatly by following a few simple suggestions.

-Child-proofing your house is very important – things to look out for include: sharp objects, potentials for slips such as rugs, electrical outlets that your child can place fingers in, loose wires that your child can place in his/her mouth, slippery bathtubs.
-Baby walkers, although popular in the past, have been increasingly discouraged by health professionals as they can lead to harmful accidents.
-Your child should avoid wearing socks in the house that can cause him/her to slip easily.
-Always use a car seat for younger children and seatbelts for older children, including belts in strollers.
-Reduce your child’s risk for oral injury in sports by wearing protective gear, including a mouth-guard and helmet.
-Regular dental check-ups provide your dentist an opportunity to discuss other age-appropriate preventive strategies with your child.

You can also visit http://www.iadt-dentaltrauma.org/for-patients.html from the International Association of Dental Traumatology for more information on dental trauma.

Copyright © 2002-2012 American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
Although we encourage parents to read through the material presented on our website, please keep in mind that it is presented for educational purposes only and does not imply diagnoses for your child. Treatment options and diagnoses can only be given after a visit to the dentist and a thorough medical history and clinical/radiographic examination.