Dental Emergencies

An Emergency Dental Clinic Can Be a Lifesaver

Routine dental care is a no brainer for most parents of toddlers, children, and teens. We know when our kids should start brushing their teeth, we understand the importance of regular visits to a pediatric dentist, and we possess a basic knowledge of what’s going to happen inside our child’s mouth as they continue to grow.

But what happens when there is a dental or mouth-related emergency? Where do we go? Who do we see? And what problems should be addressed immediately and which can wait?

Where do I find an emergency dental clinic?

As the name suggests, an emergency dental clinic tends to what is deemed to be an urgent situation involving the teeth or mouth. It’s likely that your pediatric dentist in Anchorage offers emergency services at their practice, so you won’t have to go far for care nor will your child be traumatized by the need to see a different dentist with whom they are unfamiliar. This will certainly lessen any trauma associated with an accident or other event that effects their teeth or mouth.

The benefits of bringing your child to their pediatric dentist for emergency treatment not only makes your child more comfortable but it also means that they’ll be treated in a place where the dentist or dentists are already familiar with the child’s dental history. All records for your child or teen will be on-site and there will less likely be a need for lots of further x-rays or other procedures. This not only hastens treatment but also keeps your costs to a minimum.

When you are bringing your child to the pediatric dentist for a regular visit, don’t hesitate to ask about addressing emergency issues. They may never happen, but it is  always good to know in advance what steps should be taken if an emergency does indeed occur.

What constitutes an emergency dental situation?

As a parent, especially the parent of a little one or a first-time parent, sometimes everything seems like an emergency when your child is hurting or bleeding. It’s easy to panic and, as nervous parents concerned about their child, it’s sometimes easy to escalate a situation that may not be an emergency. But it IS important to know when a trip to your child’s pediatric dentist is necessary.

In general, any dental problem that needs immediate attention in order to stop bleeding, to address severe pain, or to save a tooth is considered an emergency. If you think your child may have a severe infection inside their mouth, that should also be treated as an emergency.

Here are some issues we see fairly often at Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry.

  • Knocked out baby teeth – If your child is under 6 years-old, chances are that they still have baby teeth. (There are exceptions, of course.) Most will lose these teeth naturally but they can also be knocked out during a fall or other accident. This can be quite traumatic for both the child and the parent. The teeth most likely to be knocked out by a fall are the two front upper teeth, simply because of how they are positioned. If this happens, soothe your child first and then try to locate the tooth. There’s a possibility it could have been swallowed or that it could have been pushed into its socket. Contact Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible to set up an emergency appointment. In the meantime, apply a cold pack to the area or give your child a popsicle to suck on. Watch for any other signs of trauma.
  • Knocked out permanent teeth – As with baby teeth, trauma most often occurs to the two teeth on the upper top portion of the mouth. If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, the procedure for handling this will definitely be different. Parents should find the tooth and place it in milk. Do not wash it off! Please call your Anchorage pediatric dentist as soon as possible and make an appointment to have your child examined. This is definitely an emergency situation and your dentist will likely schedule an immediate visit as implantation is suggested within 60 minutes of such accidents.
  • Broken teeth – When your child breaks a tooth, it can be traumatic for both of you. You will worry about pain and injury while also being concerned about your child’s appearance, especially if the tooth is in the front of their mouth. Begin by having your child rinse their mouth with warm water, recover any tooth fragments you can find, cover any sharp parts with dental wax or sugar-free gum, and contact your Anchorage pediatric dentist immediately. He or she will be able to identify the extent of damage to the tooth and determine the best way to address it.
  • Toothaches – No one likes to see their child in pain and a gnawing toothache can be among the worst and most annoying pain a child/teen experiences. Most toothaches are caused by tooth decay and should be addressed by a dentist. Don’t wait to see if it goes away! That can be life-threatening if an abscess is present. To help ease the pain, you can apply a cold compress to the area and administer a dose of acetaminophen appropriate to the age of the child. Also assess whether your child has a fever, swelling, or other accompanying symptoms and schedule an emergency dental clinic visit immediately.

Contacting your pediatric dentist

It’s important to remember that you are not “bothering” your child’s dentist if he/she has a problem that you believe to be an emergency. At Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry, our board certified pediatric dentists are available all day, every day to help you assess your child’s dental problems. If you’re not sure whether or not you should schedule an appointment immediately or if you can wait a few days until regular office hours, it’s okay to give us a call. We can guide you in the right direction and determine whether or not you should schedule an emergency visit.

Remember, some dental emergencies can be avoided with proper dental care. Regular scheduled visits as well as a good brushing and flossing regimen means your child is less likely to develop issues that are prompted by tooth decay and bad oral health habits.

However, we recognize that accidents and other emergency situations happen and we stand ready to assist you with such traumatic situations. We can also advise you on which problems we can handle and which – like broken jaws or other facial injuries – demand a visit to the local hospital emergency room.

For more information on the emergency dental clinic services available at Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry contact our support team at 907-562-1003. We welcome new patients and are eager to make you a part of our Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry family!

Dr Christy Jen DDS

Dr. Christy Jen received her undergraduate and dental degree from the University of Washington, and completed her pediatric dental training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She practiced in Michigan and Louisiana while her husband finished his surgery training before finally making Alaska their home.

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