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Pediatric Dental Emergencies: What to Do in Puyallup, WA

Close up image of a baby girl with teethPediatric dental emergencies can be traumatizing for children and daunting for parents and caregivers. The last thing you want is a severe dental emergency that requires quick action.

While many dental issues qualify as emergencies, Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry can handle everything from knocked-out teeth to sudden toothaches. Since the spectrum of dental problems in children requiring urgent attention is broad and varied, routine checkups can ensure optimal oral health and prevent further damage.

If you need help distinguishing between what constitutes a true dental emergency and what can wait for regular dental care, seek the guidance of for invaluable clarity and direction. Here, we look at the various aspects of pediatric dental emergencies to help you get professional help when needed.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies can arise unexpectedly, stressing children and parents. The best way to address pediatric dental emergencies is to detect signs that need immediate intervention. This goes a long way in preventing potential complications and ensuring optimum health. Here are common dental emergencies in children that you should know to make informed decisions in the future.

Knocked Out Tooth

Also known as avulsion, a knocked-out tooth is a severe problem that requires immediate emergency dental care services. Whether a fall, sports injury, or accident, a knocked-out tooth is stressful to the child and caregiver, hence the need to seek prompt professional services.
•  When a tooth is dislodged from its socket completely, time is of the essence.
•  Handle the dislodged tooth by the crown, avoiding contact with the root.
•  Rinse the tooth with water gently without scrubbing or removing any attached tissue.
•  You can try to reinsert the tooth into the socket, but if it is not practical, place the tooth in a container of milk or saliva and visit your dentist quickly.

Broken Tooth

A broken tooth is another reason you may require emergency pediatric dental services, especially following a fall, accident, or biting hard objects. The severity of a broken tooth can vary, ranging from minor chips to significant fractures exposing the nerve. Regardless of the extent of damage, it is essential to schedule a dental appointment immediately.

•  Rinse the mouth and apply an ice pack to reduce swelling.
•  If possible, collect broken tooth fragments and bring them to the dental appointment, as it helps ensure a successful restoration process.
•  Also, children with broken teeth should avoid chewing on the affected side, and
•  you should avoid attempting at-home remedies.


Toothache in children is often a result of various underlying causes, including tooth decay, infection, or injury. At the same time, a toothache is not necessarily a major cause for concern; persistent or severe pain accompanied by swelling, fever, or difficulty swallowing prompts the expertise of emergency pediatric dental services. For a severe toothache, clean around the affected tooth with warm water and floss gently to remove any lodged debris.

Avoid placing aspirin or pain-relieving medications directly on the gums, as this can aggravate the area and exacerbate bleeding. In case of discomfort, our pediatric dentist will prescribe over-the-counter pain relief and schedule a prompt evaluation to identify and address the underlying cause.

Dental Trauma

Dental trauma comprises various injuries affecting the teeth, gums, or surrounding oral structures. This can include injuries such as tooth displacement, partial dislodgment, or intrusion. Dental trauma often occurs as a result of accidents, sports injuries, or physical altercations.

Dr. Hersey can assess the damage and determine the severity before providing immediate intervention to prevent further complications and preserve oral health. Before visiting your dentist, rinse the mouth with warm water and use an ice pack to reduce swelling.

Object Lodged Between Teeth

Children occasionally experience discomfort or pain because of objects lodged between their teeth. While these scenarios do not always constitute a dental emergency, persistent pain or inability to dislodge the object prompts professional expertise.

Parents and guardians should gently attempt to remove the object using dental floss, but caution is vital to prevent further injury. If you are unsuccessful or the child experiences significant pain or bleeding, consult a dental professional to remove the object safely and assess for subsequent damage.

Abscess or Swelling

Abscesses or swelling in the gums or jaw often show an underlying dental infection, which requires professional intervention to prevent further complications. Dental abscesses are characterized by localized swelling, pain, redness, and pus formation.

Sometimes, the swelling may extend to the face or neck, accompanied by fever and general illness. Comprehensive dental evaluation is essential to drain the abscess, alleviate symptoms, and administer appropriate antibiotic therapy to eliminate the infection.

What to Do During Pediatric Dental Emergencies

Parents and guardians must encourage children to remain calm and take swift action to address the situation effectively during a pediatric dental emergency. The first step following a dental emergency in children is to assess the severity of the issue and prioritize safety.

Professional pediatric dental services are key to restoring health and comfort if you are dealing with a knocked-out tooth or dental abscesses. Regardless of any emergency, seeking professional help is essential to ensure the best possible outcome for the oral health and well-being of the child.

FAQs about Pediatric Dental Emergencies

What Should I Do if My Child Knocks Out a Tooth?

As mentioned, if a child knocks out a tooth, time is of the essence. Handle it by the crown and rinse it with water before reinserting the tooth into the socket if possible. On the other hand, store the tooth in milk or saliva and seek immediate pediatric dental care.

How Can I Tell if a Toothache Is a Dental Emergency?

While not all toothaches are emergencies, persistent or severe pain followed by swelling, fever, or difficulty swallowing may show a more severe underlying problem. Schedule a prompt evaluation with a pediatric dentist to identify and address the cause and mitigate further damage.

What Should I Do if My Child Breaks a Tooth?

If your child experiences a broken tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling, and ensure they do not chew on the affected side. If possible, retrieve any broken tooth fragments and seek professional help for assessment and treatment.

Pediatric dental emergencies pose unique challenges for parents and caregivers, often occurring unexpectedly and requiring immediate intervention. From knocked-out teeth to sudden toothaches, the range of urgent dental complications affecting children is broad and stressful.

Call Us in Puyallup Now for Emergency Dental Care!

If you need help recognizing the signs of a dental emergency and how to respond effectively, Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry can mitigate potential complications and preserve oral health. Contact us at (253) 864-9889 and schedule a consultation with our team to navigate such stressful situations with confidence and ensure the best possible outcomes for the dental well-being of your child.

Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry | | (253) 864-9889
11201 88th Ave E #120, Puyallup, WA 98373-3802
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Pediatric Dental Emergency in Puyallup, WA
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