Pediatric Dental Emergencies
When there is a dental emergency, our office is always available through our answering system. In addition, we have also provided some at home tips below for situations you may be able to handle yourself. We are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Please dial 781-861-6120 and follow the instructions for reporting an emergency. One of our doctors will return your call as soon as possible (usually within 30 minutes).
Begin by cleaning around the sore tooth meticulously. Using warm salt water, rinse the mouth to displace any food trapped between teeth. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum. In the event of facial swelling, apply a cold compress to the area. For temporary pain relief, acetaminophen is recommended. See a dentist as soon as possible.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek
Ice can be applied to any bruised areas. For bleeding, apply firm (but gentle) pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop with pressure or continues after 15 minutes, go to an emergency room.
A broken tooth requires immediate dental attention. Rinse any dirt away from the injury with warm water, and place a cold compress over the face in the injured area. Locate and save any tooth fragments, and seek emergency dental care as soon as possible. Place the tooth in milk if possible. Otherwise, place the tooth in water to keep it hydrated.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
Recover the tooth, making sure to hold it by the crown (top) and not the root end. Rinse the tooth in cold water, but do not clean or handle the tooth more than necessary. Try to reinsert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place by having your child bite down on a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, carry it in a cup containing milk or water. Because time is essential, see a dentist immediately.
Possible Broken Jaw
In the event of jaw injury, tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie or handkerchief. Go immediately to an emergency room.
Bleeding After a Baby Tooth Falls Out
Fold a piece of gauze and place it (tightly) over the bleeding area. Bite down on the gauze for 15 minutes; if bleeding continues, see a dentist.
Cold or Canker Sores
Over-the-counter medications will usually provide temporary relief. If sores persist, visit your dentist.
What to Do in Case of Emergency
In general, there are very few night or weekend orthodontic emergencies that need immediate attention. If an appliance or brace breaks, please call us during business hours, even if you have an upcoming appointment in the near future, so that we may advise on how to handle the repair.
Loose Brackets or Bands
A loose brace (bracket), band, wire, or appliance can be reported to us on the next business day. However, if the patient is in pain, please feel free to call us over the weekend and we can usually give tips over the phone on how to relieve the situation. Please feel free to trim the wire with a clean fingernail clipper or small wire cutter from the hardware store and slide the loose brace off the wire. The loose brace may also simply be kept on the wire if it is not causing any discomfort.
It is very common for a wire to slightly shift and poke out of the last brace. Please try to slide the wire to the other side by using tweezers to gently pull the wire, or by pushing on the poking end of the wire with a clean pencil eraser. You may also place a small piece of dental wax on the poking wire for more comfort over the weekend.
If a separator is lost during treatment, do not worry. Please call our office on the next business day to see if it needs to be replaced.
Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
During the first week after placement of braces and after routine adjustments, some patients experience some tooth discomfort when eating. Please feel free to take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other non-aspirin pain reliever while adjusting to the new braces or wire. Drinking cold liquids can also temporarily reduce the tension in our heat-activated wires, helping to relieve discomfort.
Problems with Clear Aligners
If an Invisalign aligner is irritating your cheek, tongue, or gum tissue, feel free to polish the sharp edge with a piece of sandpaper or a clean fingernail file. If an aligner is lost, move on to the next aligner, or resume wearing the previous aligner until our doctors can instruct you on what to do. If an aligner tears or breaks half, continue wearing the aligner (or pieces of aligners) normally as long as they stay firmly on the teeth.