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Dental Emergencies

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Common Dental Emergencies

Toddlers are in an active age. They are learning to be mobile and keep up with older kids. This means falls or bumps are more likely. The first thing to do is to remain calm — clear away any debris from your child’s face and mouth and evaluate for any bleeding. A baby tooth could be missing or partially displaced. If the tooth is knocked out/missing, locate it, but DO NOT REPOSITION INTO THE MOUTH! Baby teeth are NOT re-implanted. Keep it for the tooth fairy! Call us for specific advice and management. In some circumstances of partial displacement, a visit to the pediatric dental office may be necessary.

Permanent Tooth Knocked Out

Children are often engaged in sports or casual play. Unintended injury is something that can be experienced. Again, remain calm. If you see that your child’s PERMANENT tooth is missing, locate it and pick it up by the CROWN, NOT THE ROOT. Reposition it in its place and bite gently on clean gauze or tissue. Call our Chevy Chase team a prompt visit to the dental office to stabilize the tooth. You should expect radiographic imaging to verify positioning prior to splinting. Various follow-up appointments, or even a referral to another specialist(s), may be necessary.

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Broken/Fractured Tooth

Upon noting that a portion of a baby or permanent tooth is missing, clear away any debris and look at the core of the tooth. You are looking for a central, localized pinkish-red, fleshy material. This determines the urgency of the incident. If you are able to locate the missing portion of the tooth, store it in milk. Depending on whether it is a baby or permanent tooth, and size, some treatment may be necessary. Call our team to determine any prompt need to visit the office. These injuries vary and will be further monitored at future visits. 

Tooth Pain 

Cavities can cause pain. In circumstances of smaller, conservative cavities, often a “zing” is felt to sweets or food stuck between the teeth. As the cavity grows in size, more temperature pain may be noted: pain when consuming cold food and drinks. Often, Tylenol or Motrin can manage the discomfort until a timely dental appointment for treatment is made. 


If a child is noted to have a SWELLING, promptly call our dental team to provide further details and get advice or if we recommend you to make a visit to an emergency room/urgent care! 

Prevention of Oral Injury

​If your child is engaged in high-impact sports, ALWAYS wear a protective mouth guard. These can be over-the-counter boil and bite or custom-made removable appliances.


Try to practice age-related safety measures: car seats, seat belts, tied shoe laces, no rough play, knee and elbow pads, safety helmet, reflective gear, and in-home safety measures against falls or electrical injury.

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