Pediatric Dental Emergencies

We are always here to support you during your child’s dental emergency. Please use the information below for educational purposes to help evaluate if you might be experiencing a pediatric dental emergency. Do not hesitate to call our office if you are uncertain or would like to discuss your child’s injury.

We accept calls for dental emergencies 24/7, please call our office at 970.224.3600 and follow the prompts to contact our on-call dentist.

Toothaches

Toothaches are painful! Whether you’re a child or adult, these are not fun to experience.

Severe toothaches are those that interfere with your child’s daily activities. We always recommend calling to speak with our on-call dentist to evaluate if your child is experiencing a severe toothache that is affecting their ability to eat, drink or attend school.

What to do at home until your child’s appointment for a toothache:

  • Clean your child’s teeth and mouth while looking for any food or objects that might have become stuck between their teeth.
  • Check if there is any swelling in their mouth. If there is, apply ice or frozen veggies in 20-minute intervals to the correlating area on their face.
  • Rinse your child’s mouth with warm salt water (if they are old enough to not swallow the rinse).
  • If they are in significant pain, evaluate giving your child their appropriate dose of a pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Please remember to never give your child aspirin, as it can be dangerous for children.

Puncture Wounds

The most common way we see pediatric dental puncture wounds in the mouth is from a child carrying a pen or pencil in their mouth and falling. These injuries can affect multiple areas of a child’s mouth including the throat, tonsils and soft palate. With puncture wound injuries, we always recommend calling the on-call dentist for an evaluation at 970.224.3600.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

Broken or chipped teeth can occur for a wide variety of reasons in children, including eating hard candy, a big fall, or playing sports without a mouth guard. We recommend all children with a broken or chipped tooth to be seen. Some broken or chipped teeth can lead to an infection from bacteria build-up if untreated.

Call 970.224.3600 to speak with our dentist on call to discuss your child’s needs after a broken or chipped tooth.

Cut or Bitten Tongue or Lip

Cuts anywhere on the body hurt and they can be alarming in the mouth as they often bleed a lot. If you have any hesitation on the severity of your child’s injury, please contact our office to speak to the on-call dentist at 970.224.3600.

Tongue Injury – these are extremely painful, think back to the last time you bit your tongue, it definitely hurts.

  • Most minor cuts will heal on their own. An easy way to determine if the cut is minor is to look at your child’s tongue and see if the cut stays together when they move their tongue.
  • A significant cut to your child’s tongue, such as one that does not stay together when they move their tongue should be evaluated by our on-call dentist immediately.

What to do at home until your child’s appointment for a tongue injury:

  • If your child’s tongue is bleeding, you can use a clean cloth or gauze to apply firm pressure. The bleeding should then begin to subside.
  • To help alleviate pain and swelling you can apply a cold compress to their injured tongue. We recommend using something like frozen produce (peas or corn often work well). Make sure you never leave the cold item on the injury for more than 20 minutes.
  • Watch the bleeding – if your child has been bleeding for 15 minutes without stopping, please go to the ER.

Lip Injury – Lip injuries are most common when your child has a fall and lands straight onto their face/lips. They can be cuts or occasionally your child’s teeth will cut through their lip due to a fall. While these injuries can look very scary and are often extremely painful, the majority of lip injuries will heal on their own as long as their teeth have not gone completely through the lip. If you have any question on the severity of your child’s injury, please call our on-call dentist at 970.224.3600 for immediate assistance.

When evaluating your child after a trauma to their lips, we recommend assessing the gums & teeth under the injured lip to check and see if there are any additional dental injuries. These could be loose teeth, cut gums, chipped tooth, etc.

What to do at home until your child’s appointment for a lip injury:

  • Clean the injured area with mild soap and water.
  • If the injury is still bleeding, we recommend applying firm pressure using a clean cloth or gauze until the bleeding subsides. If the bleeding continues for more than 15 minutes and has not stopped or significantly slowed, please go to the ER.
  • Utilize a cold compress to help reduce pain and swelling of the injury. You’ll only want to apply the cold item for 20 minutes at a time.

Knocked-out Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are usually knocked out following a trauma like a big fall. Knocked-out teeth, even baby teeth, always require an evaluation from your dentist as they can lead to complications if not treated. We recommend calling our on-call dentist at 970.224.3600 to discuss your unique situation with our dentists.

What to do at home until your child’s appointment for a knocked-out baby tooth:

  • Look for the tooth, if you can find it we recommend saving it to bring into the dentist. Seeing the tooth may help the dentist evaluate the injury. After the visit, we’ll send the knocked out tooth home with you for the tooth fairies early visit!
  • If the area is bleeding you can provide firm pressure utilizing a cloth or gauze to help the area stop bleeding. We will warn you, mouth injuries are typically very bloody.

Please never put a baby tooth back into the mouth. 

Knocked-out Permanent Tooth

If your child loses a permanent tooth through injury or other means, please contact our office to speak with the on-call dentist immediately at 970.224.3600.

What to do at home until your child’s appointment for a knocked-out adult tooth:

  • Look for the tooth, if you can find it please put it in milk and bring it in with you to the dentist. If you cannot find it, do not delay seeking care – simply go to your emergency appointment without the tooth in hand.
  • Please make sure when handling the tooth you avoid touching the root end, only handle the chewing surfaces of the tooth.
  • If the tooth is dirty, you can rinse it under tap water quickly. Do not add soap or scrub the tooth to remove debris.
  • The dentist may instruct you to re-insert the tooth into the socket while you’re on the way to the clinic.
  • If the area is bleeding you can provide firm pressure utilizing a cloth or gauze to help the area stop bleeding. We will warn you, mouth injuries are typically very bloody.

 

One of the best ways to prevent a knocked-out adult tooth is to have your child wear a mouth guard while participating in sports & intense athletic activities.

Tooth Sensitivity

This occurs when your child is suddenly sensitive to hot/cold foods. If this is occurring frequently, we recommend calling our office to schedule an appointment. If it has a sudden onset and your child is inconsolably in pain from sensitivity, please call our office immediately to speak to the on-call dentist at 970.224.3600.

Foreign Object Stuck Between Teeth

If you find something is stuck between your child’s teeth, we recommend trying to gently remove it using dental floss or a water pick on a medium setting. If the object will not budge and it is causing significant pain please contact our on call dentist at 970.224.3600.

Dental Abscess

Dental Abscesses are very painful infections of the tooth’s root. The infection will create a pocket or pimple looking bump filled with pus. Some signs your child might be experiencing a dental abscess are:

  • Severe & persistent toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting
  • Facial swelling
  • Swollen lymph nodes in jaw/neck
  • Difficulty breathing

If your child is experiencing any mix of these symptoms and you’re concerned that they might have a dental abscess please call our on-call doctor to evaluate your child’s situation & symptoms at 970.224.3600.

If your child is ever experiencing difficulty breathing, please call 911 and seek help immediately.

Lost or Loose Filling

If your child loses their filling or it has become loose, we recommend scheduling an appointment to be seen immediately. When a filling has completely been removed, the tooth underneath is no longer protected from bacteria and other microorganisms. This can lead to sensitivity, further decay, and infection.