When your child is facing a serious life-threatening after-hours emergency related to dental care received in our office, please go to an urgent care or hospital emergency room. Examples of such situations are difficulty breathing due to an allergic reaction after a dental procedure, uncontrolled bleeding following tooth extraction, swelling of the face and or neck affecting breathing, eating, or swallowing, and fever higher than 102 degrees for more than 48 hours.
Our pediatric dentists may be available on a case-by-case basis to help triage true dental emergencies that cannot wait until the next business day. Parents should not solely rely on our availability in cases of serious dental emergencies and instead should go to an urgent care or hospital emergency room.
When seeking an opinion from outside the office, please email or text images/photos of the problem areas. The photos should be of high quality with good illumination and taken from three different angles. No more than 3 images should be texted to 703-849-1300 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the patient's name, date of birth, and a brief explanation of the dental concern.
Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
If your child has a chipped or broken tooth, have them rinse their mouth with warm water, and use a cold compress to reduce swelling of the injured lip or face area. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off and place it in a plastic container with clean tap water or bottled water.
Knocked Out Tooth
If your child’s tooth has been knocked out of their mouth, find the tooth and rinse it with clean tap water or bottled water (no soap), taking care to only touch the crown of the tooth (the part you can see when it’s in place). Place the tooth in a clean container with cold milk.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse their mouth with warm water and inspect the teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children’s pain relievers such as Advil or Tylenol may be taken orally. If you suspect a cavity, broken tooth, or filling an office visit will be needed to evaluate your child.
If your child has a very loose tooth, the first step is to wiggle the tooth out at home over a period of 8 to 10 weeks. At the end of the 10-week period, if the baby tooth will not come out naturally, an office visit may be needed for a tooth extraction procedure.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
If your child has bitten their lip or tongue severely enough to cause bleeding, clean the injured area gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling.
Object Caught in Teeth
If your child has something caught between their teeth, use dental floss to gently remove it. Never use a metal, plastic, or sharp tool to remove a stuck object. If you are unable to remove the item with dental floss, an office visit may be needed.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, call the office immediately for evaluation. If this happens after hours, you should go to the urgent care or hospital immediately. In some cases, a broken jaw is the result of a blow to the head. Severe blows to the head can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
You can help your child avoid dental emergencies by child-proofing your home. Always use car seats for young children and require seat belts for older children. And if your child plays contact sports, have them wear a mouthguard. In some situations, it is appropriate to make a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child's sports activities.