Kids can be quite rough and tumble, which is why parents need to know their first-aid basics. This includes what to do during a dental emergency. A chipped or broken tooth isn't always painful, especially if it's a baby tooth, so you may be tempted to ignore it until your child's next regular appointment. This isn't always a good idea, though. The following guide will help you deal with this dental emergency.

Assess the Damage

Your first task is to see how severe the break or chip in the tooth is. You also want to make sure all broken, loose pieces are removed from the mouth, especially in young children. If there is excessive bleeding, have the child bite down on cotton gauze until the bleeding slows. Then, check the tongue and gums to make sure they weren't cut or pierced when the injury occurred. Sometimes, pieces of broken tooth become lodged in these areas.

Collect the broken tooth or tooth fragments, if possible, and place them in a cup of milk. In some cases, the dentist can salvage these fragments to create a cap for a broken permanent tooth.

Prepare for Questioning

When making an emergency or after-hours call to your dentist, you will be asked several questions to determine whether your child should be brought in immediately or if the problem can wait. These questions may include the following:

  • Is it an adult or baby tooth? A baby tooth may not require further care if it isn't painful or dangerous.

  • How extensive is the damage? Is it just a small chip or is the tooth broken down to the nerve or gum line?

  • Is the damage painful? Your dentist may recommend giving your child an over-the counter pain killer before bringing them in.

  • Are cuts a concern? Jagged breaks, even if minor, can lead to tongue and mouth irritation, so they need prompt treatment.

Emergency Fixes

If you need to take your child in for an emergency appointment, there are several different fixes the dentist may use. For minor chips, especially on a baby tooth, they may just smooth and polish the damage to remove sharp edges. Fillings are also an option for minor chips. This creates a smooth, easier-to-care-for surface that minimizes cavity and tooth decay risks in the damaged area.

In some cases, they may pull the remainders of a broken baby tooth, especially if it is one your child would be losing soon anyway. Adult teeth may also require pulling if the damage is extensive. Crowns or dental bridges may be necessary to fix or replace a broken adult tooth. These will require further visits to the dentist. For children, permanent solutions, like implants, aren't usually advised until the child reaches adulthood and stops growing. If you have further concerns, you may wish to contact a dentist at Family Dentistry Of Brick, PA.