Top 7 Dental Emergencies That Happen to Kids

Top 7 Dental Emergencies That Happen to Kids

With kids, anything can happen. They can take a fall, run into something, or shove a sibling, and next thing you know, it’s an emergency. Even children who aren’t climbing on everything or playing rough have bloody, painful accidents from time to time. Some of those accidents could easily be dental emergencies.

Some accidents can be helped at home and some require an emergency trip to the dentist. Here are the top dental emergencies that happen to kids and what to do about them.


ToothacheWhen pain hits in your mouth, it can be excruciating. For some kids, it’s sensitivity to food like ice cream or sugary treats. In other cases, it’s a cavity or even an infection. Check your child’s mouth to make sure nothing is caught between their teeth, as well. Depending on the severity of the pain, you may need to make an emergency dentist appointment to figure out what’s wrong and help relieve their pain.

Bleeding Gums

Most of the time bleeding gums are a sign that your child may not be brushing as well as they could and plaque is developing at the gum line. Rinsing with warm water and better brushing habits will often fix this. But if the bleeding won’t stop, is severe, or is accompanied by pain, it could be a sign of gum disease.

Broken Jaw

Broken JawA broken jaw is often the result of a blow to the head or face. Seek immediate treatment for your child, usually at the hospital or call 911 if needed. When you can, contact your dentist to find out what may need to be done for your child’s dental health once the broken bone has been seen to by emergency medical professionals.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

Balls to the face, trips over untied shoelaces, biting down on hard or chewy candy — kids can chip or crack a tooth for any number of reasons. When they do, it’s usually excruciating for them. Rinse their mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress. Because of the pain and the possibility of permanent damage, it’s important to make an emergency dentist appointment as soon as possible.

Lost Tooth

Lost ToothBaby teeth are, of course, supposed to come out once they become loose. But when a tooth is knocked out – permanent or baby – it can cause permanent damage to the gums and/or roots. And if it’s a grown-up tooth, it’s definitely a problem. Help reduce the bleeding by rinsing your child’s mouth with warm water. Find the tooth and only touch the part that you can normally see when it’s attached — not the top part that connects to the gums. Put the tooth in milk and get to the dentist as soon as possible.

Something Stuck in Their Teeth

From food to the small plastic odds and ends that are found in toys, kids can get all kinds of things stuck in their teeth. It often causes discomfort. Help your child floss their teeth to remove the debris and then have them rinse their mouth. Most of the time, this is all you need to do. In rare circumstances when floss can’t remove it or it’s a large foreign object, an emergency dental appointment may be required.

Hard Bites to the Lip or Tongue

Hard Bites to the Lip or TongueEveryone bites their lip or tongue from time to time. It hurts, and once you do it one or two times, you seem to do it multiple times for a day or two – thanks to the swelling that often occurs. If your child bites either their tongue or lip and causes bleeding, don’t ignore it. Help them clean their mouth with warm water and use a cold compress to reduce the swelling. If the bite looks really bad or the bleeding won’t stop, treatment will likely be needed.


Not every dental pain is an emergency but when in doubt, make a call to your dentist to be sure. No parent can prevent all the scrapes and spills kids are capable of getting into, but childproofing your home will help younger children. When an emergency happens, try to stay calm and help your child do the same. Getting into see the dentist sooner rather than later will often help keep these small dental emergencies from growing into big dental problems.