Dental Emergencies 24/7

What are Dental Emergencies?

We are aware children are very active and oftentimes normal everyday activity can lead to an injury. Children around the ages of 1 to 3 whose motor coordination is developing are prone to accidents.  Older children who are participating in sport activities, in and out of school, also may experience dental trauma that require immediate attention.

Although dental trauma can be a stressful and difficult time, it is important for you as the parent to stay as calm as possible. Reassure your child and take action accordingly.

If your child has lost consciousness, call 911 immediately.

Primary (baby) Tooth Avulsion

An avulsed primary (baby) tooth can occur when playing sports, during a fall, or many other ways. Regardless of the cause it is important that parents and caregivers know what to do when faced with this situation.

  • A child’s normal response to an avulsed tooth due to an accident is fear. There is pain involved and the accident itself is an emotional experience for them. It is important that you remain calm and begin to take action on their behalf.
  • Locate missing tooth, make sure it is not in child’s mouth, under the tongue or the side of their mouth. Do not pull out any teeth that are still in place, regardless if it is in an awkward position.
  • Call the office and your call will be directed to Dr. Hannah right away.

Baby teeth are dealt with differently than adult teeth. They are not replanted, meaning they do not get placed back into the mouth. The reason for this, is because they can disturb the normal eruption and health of the permanent tooth that will be erupting in its place. It may also cause an infection and spread bacteria.

Permanent (adult) Tooth AvulsionSports causing Dental Emergencies

If a permanent tooth is avulsed proceed as follows:

  • Keep the patient calm.
  • Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
  • If the tooth is dirty, rinse it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it. Try to encourage the patient / parent to bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
  • If this is not possible, place the tooth in a suitable storage medium, e.g. a glass of milk or a special storage media for avulsed teeth if available (e.g. Hanks balanced storage medium or saline). The tooth can also be transported in the mouth, keeping it between the molars and the inside of the cheek. If the patient is very young, he/she could swallow the tooth- therefore it is advisable to get the patient to spit in a container and place the tooth in it. Avoid storage in water!
  • Hold the tooth by the crown only.  DO NOT touch the root or attempt to SCRUB the ROOT!
  • Seek emergency dental treatment immediately by calling our office.

Lip Bite/Tongue Bite

After dental treatment with local anesthetic, it is common for young children to chew/bite on their lip as a result of the numbness. If the bite is severe, it can be rather alarming in appearance.  If there is excessive bleeding from the mouth following dental treatment, please call the office and be prepared to return to the office for an evaluation.

  • The signs of lip/tongue trauma from biting are:
  • A swollen lip/tongue (as much a three-times normal)
  • A raw lip/tongue surface
  • The affected area will be tender and sensitive to acidic and hot or spicy foods
  • The following day the lip surface will be covered by a white membranous “scab”

What to do:

  • Call the office and inform the dentist of the incident
  • Feel free to return to the office for an evaluation
  • Keep your child well fed and hydrated with a soft diet and plenty of water.|
  • Popsicles and other frozen items will be comforting
  • Cold liquids are best and milkshakes are yummy
  • Avoid acidic and spicy juices or foods
  • Infection is extremely rare in cases of these self-inflicted wounds
  • Usually antibiotics are usually not necessary but can be discussed with Dr. Hannah
  • Do not use Vaseline or petroleum jelly type products to coat the tissues
  • Normal healing will require a week


If you have a dental emergency, call our Westport, CT office at 203.635.7070 today!