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Tips on How to Handle a Dental Emergency

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

The thought of going to the dentist right now, in the middle of a pandemic, can be anxiety-inducing. While routine visits need to wait until our office reopens, we are available in the case of a dental emergency. Below are situations that need immediate attention, and what you should do if your child is experiencing one:


If your child has bitten or cut their lip or tongue severe enough to cause bleeding, clean the wound gently with water and press a cold, wet towel or washcloth firmly against the area to stop the bleeding and reduce or avoid swelling. If the bleeding does not subside, give us a call to help determine how serious the bite is or head to the emergency room.


If your child has swollen gums, fever or a bad taste in their mouth, they may have an abscessed tooth, an extremely painful infection that forms inside the tooth’s root. Please call us immediately if you suspect your child has a tooth abscess. Left untreated it could spread to other areas of your child’s body.


If your child complains of a toothache, have them rinse with warm water, and take a look to make sure nothing is caught between their teeth. If the pain continues, a cold compress may help to ease the pain. Avoid heat and do not apply aspirin or a topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children’s pain relievers may be taken orally as directed. Please call us immediately to schedule an appointment.


If your child’s tooth has been knocked out and you can find it, rinse it with water and place it in a clean container with milk. Take care to only touch the crown of the tooth (the part you can see when it is in your child’s mouth). Have your child rinse their mouth with warm water and place a cold towel or washcloth on their face near the area of the injury. Call us immediately or head to the emergency room, as it is important to act as quickly as possible in order to save the tooth.

If your child has a cracked, chipped or broken tooth, rinse their mouth with warm water and use a cold compress to reduce any swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call us as soon as possible so we can see your child.


If you experience a dental emergency while our offices are still closed due to COVID-19, please call Capital City Pediatric Dentistry at 919-782-9560 and press # when prompted, to speak to an on-call emergency dentist to discuss your situation and the best way to control or alleviate your child’s symptoms until we can see you.

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