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emergency dental care for kids

Who to Call When Your Child Has a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can lead to serious damage, such as dangerous infections or permanent tooth loss, when left untreated. It is important to know when to seek emergency dental care and who you can call for it.

Dental emergencies in children can happen at any time and for a variety of reasons. While some cases are easy to identify as emergencies—such as a painful, broken tooth—others are not as obvious. When your child has a painful toothache or other emergency dental care needs, know that you can always call a family dentist for help to prevent long-term damage or other complications.

Pediatric Tooth Pain

Toothaches are a common dental problem in children. Although the pain caused by a toothache can be mild, you should always call your child’s dentist if you need advice. For severe toothaches or tooth pain that does not go away, contact a local family dentist in Little Rock for emergency dental care.

Toothaches are associated with several potential causes, ranging from tooth decay to tooth trauma, making it crucial to have the exact cause determined to avoid other complications. Your child’s dentist can examine the affected tooth and gums to recommend any needed treatment. Toothaches caused by tooth decay might just call for cavity fillings, but those caused by trauma might require other types of emergency dental care.

Pediatric Dental Trauma

Dental trauma situations, such as following, can lead to emergencies that need to be addressed by a dentist immediately:

  • Cracked or broken teeth: Dental emergencies typically results in cracks or fractures to the crown of a tooth, which is the part visible above the gum line. If your child has a cracked or broken tooth, emergency dental care is needed if the damaged tooth changes color, causes pain, or bleeds consistently. Otherwise, call a family dentist for advice and set up a visit to examine the tooth. Your child’s dentist can take X-rays to see how severe the cracks or fractures are in order to determine the best course of treatment.
  • Missing teeth: Children can have one or more teeth knocked out from falling or playing contact sports. If the missing tooth is a baby tooth and doesn’t cause your child pain, it’s not an emergency. If the lost tooth is a permanent tooth or the accident does cause your child pain, contact your child’s dentist immediately for emergency dental care. The dentist can attempt to re-implant the missing tooth if it has been recovered and kept clean. If not, a dental crown can be used to replace the missing tooth.
  • Tooth displacement: Tooth displacement occurs when a tooth is still in the socket, but sticks out at an angle. In some cases, the tooth may be partially out of the socket. If this occurs, call your child’s dentist. While baby teeth typically heal on their own, permanent teeth should be restored as soon as possible by a family dentist to lower your child’s risk of infection and tooth loss.
  • Dental intrusion: Dental intrusion occurs when one or more teeth are pushed up into the jawbone, which can cause damage to the affected teeth. This usually occurs by a sudden accident, not over time. If this happens, call your dentist as soon as possible. In some cases, a root canal is needed to repair the tooth’s structure.

Life-Threatening Emergencies

Keep in mind that emergency rooms do not always have the necessary equipment to handle dental emergencies. So in the event of a dental emergency, contact a family dentist first before visiting a hospital. However, if your child is experiencing heavy bleeding or swelling that could be considered life threatening, go to your local emergency room or call 9-1-1 for immediate care. Depending on the dental trauma, you might need to bring your child to a dentist for a follow-up visit or for additional dental care during regular business hours.

If your child ever needs a family dentist in Little Rock for emergency dental care, contact Arkansas Family Dental at 501.663.8886. We are available for same-day dental care of non-life-threatening dental emergencies in Little Rock.

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Tina Nichols

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