Westchester Pediatric Dental Emergencies: Questions Answered by Dr. Sabrina Magid Katz

What kind of dental emergencies occur with children and what’s the best way for parents to respond? 

Kids get bumps and bruises and the mouth is no exception!  It can be pretty scary to see your child hurt themselves, and even scarier if they’re bleeding.  Most often, a little blood in the mouth is from a bitten lip or tongue.  Try some cool water to wash it off gently, and some ice to reduce swelling.  It is important to be sure there is nothing worse going on, and the swelling and bleeding are under control.  It is rare that stitches are required.  Also pay attention to the teeth, particularly those in the front.  Make sure the teeth and surrounding bone have not moved and are not loose.  If the tooth comes out completely, do not clean it.  Put it in some milk and call the dentist, as this can save a big tooth in particular.  If a “baby” or deciduous tooth sustains some trauma, this can result in the tooth later becoming dark gray, which is caused by a drop of blood in the tooth pulp.  Although unaesthetic, this may cause no further problems.  The trauma can also cause the tooth to become infected which can result in its loss.  The good news is that unless this is ignored, it will not affect the permanent teeth. Whenever a child has a dental emergency, it is important to call the dentist, see the pediatrician, or go to urgent care.

When a child chips a tooth, is it important to treat the chip right away? Is there harm in waiting to treat (or not treating) a baby tooth? 

Treating a “chipped” tooth depends upon how much is chipped.  If there is a major loss of structure the tooth can be very sensitive to temperature and require prompt treatment.  Blood coming from the tooth itself may require more treatment due to a compromised tooth nerve.  A more minor chip may be an aesthetic concern, but is not something that is emergent in nature.  Make sure that the lips and tongue aren’t being cut on sharp edges.

What are some common causes of toothaches in kids and teens, and what can caregivers do to ease the pain? 

Toothaches in children can often be caused by erupting teeth also known as teething.  As a child gets their first and then second set of teeth, the process can be uncomfortable.  This is best treated by palliative measures such as cold (ice cream works).

Another cause of tooth pain in children can be dental decay that is either untreated or was allowed to progress to the point that even if treated may result in the nerve of the tooth dying.   This has to be treated by a dentist.  Analgesic medications such as Advil or Tylenol can mitigate the pain until professional treatment is accomplished.

If a child is complaining of a toothache, it is best to have a dentist evaluate the source of the pain.

What is one thing Westchester parents are surprised to learn regarding pediatric dental emergencies? 

Parents are often concerned that their child’s permanent front teeth erupt through the gum towards the inside of the mouth while the baby teeth are still there.  Although occasionally this needs professional intervention, most often as the permanent teeth grow in the action of the tongue pushes them forward and results in the natural loss of the baby teeth.

 

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  • Advanced Dentistry of Westchester
  • Kenneth S. Magid, DDS, FICD
  • Sabrina Magid-Katz, DMD

  • 163 Halstead Ave. • Harrison, NY 10528
  • (914) 835-0542
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