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Dental Emergencies: What You Should Do
What should I do if my child has some sort of dental emergency, such as a toothache or a broken tooth? What if a permanent tooth gets knocked out? Please give me some guidelines.

Here is a a rundown of common childhood dental emergencies and what parents or caregiviers should do about them.

Toothache
Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm salt water or use dental floss to dislodge trapped food or debris. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Give acetaminophen for pain. See a dentist to determine the cause.

Broken Tooth
Rinse dirt from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the face in the area of the injury. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments. See a dentist immediately.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the top (crown), not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth, but do not clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Try to reinsert it in its socket. Have the child hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing milk or water. If the child's face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Give acetaminophen for pain. See a dentist immediately! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek
Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding persists after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to a hospital emergency room.

Broken Braces and Wires
If a broken appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If it cannot, cover the sharp or protruding portion with cotton balls, gauze, or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, DO NOT remove it. Take the child to a dentist immediately. Loose/broken appliances that do not bother the child don't usually require emergency attention.

Bleeding After Baby Tooth Falls Out
Fold and pack a clean gauze or cloth over the bleeding area. Have the child bite on the gauze with pressure for 15 minutes. This may be repeated once. If bleeding persists, see a dentist.

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