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Is it an emergency?

As a parent, sometimes it can be hard to know if a particular injury, symptom, or complaint of your child is something that you need to take them to the doctor for or if it is something that you can comfortably resolve at home. At Cherry Orchard Pediatric Dentistry, we want you to know that we are never TOO busy for a visit or phone call with you and your child. Additionally, we have provided the below guidance on some common concerns, which may assist you in handling your child’s dental emergency.

Facial Swelling – YES

If your child has swelling on one side of their face, this is an emergency. Our face has many spaces for infection to drain/ move to and in a child this can often happen more quickly than in adults. Contact our office immediately.

Gingival (Gum) Tissue Swelling – YES

If your child presents with a raised red area or pimple around a tooth or between teeth on the gums, this formation is likely an abscess. An abscess does not always present with symptoms but can travel to the facial spaces noted above. Contact our office immediately.

Toothache – YES

If your child is complaining of tooth discomfort or pain, we recommend over the counter Tylenol and Ibuprofen to assist with comfort until they can be seen in the office.

  • Parents should look inside the oral cavity to assess the status of the soft and hard tissue. Note what can be seen- such as a cavity in a particular tooth or a red raised area/pimple on the upper/lower ; right/ left; back/front region of the oral cavity.
  • Recommend diet modification such as softer and less acidic foods to assist with pain control.
  • Contact our office immediately.

Cut/Bitten lip, cheek, or tongue – YES

If the soft tissue is swollen, apply a cold compress to the area. This should assist with discomfort and decrease the growth of swelling. If the tissue is bleeding, apply firm pressure with a towel or gauze. Contact our office immediately.

Eruption Patterns – NO

If the permanent (adult) tooth is erupting behind the primary (baby) tooth, this is a common eruption pattern that will naturally correct itself. Encourage your child to “wiggle” the primary tooth by thrusting their tongue forward to push the tooth outward or use clean fingers to move it back and forth.


Dental Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere, so PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE FOR ASSISTANCE. As a parent herself, Dr. Lisa understands the urgency in seeking care for your child as quickly as possible. The outline below is a guide to assist you until we are able to talk with you or see your child, but should not be considered a substitute for such. Please inform our office of any and all major or minor trauma incidents affecting your family so we can make an informed decision together.

Primary (Baby) Tooth Knocked Out (Avulsed)

  • Baby teeth are important for many reasons such as speech, esthetics, eating, etc; however, if they are knocked out or avulsed, the baby tooth is not to be reimplanted or reinserted.
    • Reinsertion or reimplantation performed incorrectly can damage the developing underlying permanent (adult) tooth. The baby and adult tooth live too close to one another in the bone.
  • We do recommend locating the knocked-out baby tooth to confirm it has not been swallowed or pushed upward (displaced). If the tooth cannot be located, contact us immediately so an x-ray can be taken to confirm complete avulsion (loss of the tooth) and/ or to determine if a body x-ray is needed.
  • Contact our office immediately.

Permanent (Adult) Tooth Knocked Out (Avulsed)

  • Confirm patient is alert and aware of his/ her surroundings. If a concussion is suspected, call 911 for medical attention first.
  • Locate the knocked-out tooth as soon as you can and place it in your saliva (if possible) or milk.
  • Do not scrub or rub off debris only gently rinse with saliva/ spit.
  • If possible, reinsert tooth back into the socket immediately and hold with firm pressure to stabilize. If you are unable to reinsert the tooth or are not comfortable with another person doing so at that time, keep tooth in saliva or milk medium until you arrive at our dental office.
  • Contact our office immediately.

Fractured/Broken Tooth (Primary or Permanent)

  • Gently cleanse the area with patient’s saliva or cool water to better assess the fracture. No vigorous spitting, just gentle cleansing with tissue/ towelette/gauze.
  • The area will be sensitive regardless of the amount of tooth broken/fractured due to the trauma.
  • If a red dot or area is evident, the nerve tissue is likely exposed. This tooth will be hypersensitive to temperature, movement, breathing, etc.
  • If the soft tissue, such as the lip or gum (gingival) tissue around the tooth is affected, examine the area for any tooth fragments. Recommend applying a cool compress to the area to assist with swelling.
  • If the broken/ fractured fragment can be located, recommend placing it in the patient’s saliva or a milk medium to transport to the office.
  • Contact our office immediately.