Dental Emergencies and How to Respond

HollowBrook Dental Colorado Springs Dentist
As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children, keeping them safe. However, bumps and bruises are all part of being a kid. Unfortunately, sometimes playtime can quickly escalate into an emergency situation. If you are in the Colorado Springs area and your child experiences a dental emergency, contact us right away– we’ll get you and your child in for an evaluation as soon as possible.
We do know that a dental emergency can be concerning- but we believe that your child’s dental health should not be a source of stress. Below, we’ll explain 5 common dental emergencies in children and how you should respond to each one.

5 Common Dental Emergencies

At Hollow Brook Dental in Colorado Springs, we want you to help you understand 5 of the most common dental emergencies in children and how to deal with each one.

  1. Bitten cheek/lip/tongue
  2. Toothache
  3. Broken/chipped/fractured tooth
  4. Knocked out permanent tooth
  5. Fractured face/jaw

Bitten cheek/lip/tongue

The first thing you need to do if your child bites their tongue, cheek, or lip hard enough to cause serious bleeding is to use a cold compress to stop the bleeding. Then, use water to gently clean the area. If you can’t stop the bleeding and there is also swelling, call us and we’ll help you decide whether you need to bring your child in for evaluation.


Children get toothaches from time to time- it does not necessarily mean there is an emergency. The irritation could be due to a trapped piece of food. The first thing you need to do is carefully brush and floss the area. Then, have them rinse with warm water. If they are still experiencing pain/discomfort, apply a cold compress and give them children’s pain reliever. Do not use heat, as that could escalate the situation. If the toothache does not get better, call us and we will schedule an appointment to determine the cause of the pain and the best course of treatment.

Broken/chipped/fractured tooth
While it’s true that the only time a broken/chipped tooth is considered an emergency is when it causes pain/sensitivity, it’s still necessary to come in as soon as possible so that we can fix the issue before it escalates. If your child has a broken or chipped tooth and is complaining of pain, contact us and we’ll schedule an emergency appointment. Meanwhile, help them rinse their mouth with warm water and then apply a cold compress to keep swelling under control. If you can, find the piece that broke off and save it so that we can try to reattach it.

Knocked out permanent tooth

One of the more serious emergencies that your child may experience is a knocked out permanent tooth. This is a time-sensitive emergency. While it’s a cosmetic issue to begin with it could result in more serious issues, such as:

  • Shifting teeth
  • Changes in jaw joint
  • Bone loss in jaw
  • Wearing down of remaining teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
These are all very serious concerns and can only be avoided by taking quick action. If the tooth was knocked out by force, there may be substantial bleeding- so you need to get that under control first. The best way to do this is to apply direct pressure either by having your child bite down on a piece of gauze or by applying a cold compress. If your child is in pan, give them the appropriate dose of children’s pain reliever.
If possible, find the tooth and rinse off any debris before attempting to put it back in the socket. Ideally, you should rinse it with milk because of the similar pH level to saliva. If possible, avoid touching the root. You can also place the tooth in milk or wrap in cool, damp cloth if you are not comfortable putting it back in place. If the tooth is put back in the socket within 30 minutes, it has a high chance of survival. This is why it’s important to contact us at Hollow Brook Dental immediately. If we are able to splint the tooth, we will leave the plastic or metal in place for a few weeks until the ligaments regrow correctly ad attach the tooth to the bone. If it has not reattached within a few weeks, we’ll provide an implant/bridge to fill the gap.

Fractured face/jaw
If your child experiences a fractured face/jaw, this is a serious medical and dental emergency. Since facial fractures are most often the result of a blow to the head, damage to the bones and any brain injuries that your child may have experienced should be the number one priority. Apply a cold compress and go straight to the ER. If any teeth were knocked out, place them in a damp cloth or a glass of milk and take them with you. Once any medial issues are stabilized, we can treat any oral issues.

Contact Hollow Brook Dental for Dental Emergencies
Dental emergencies can be scary- especially when it’s your child. However, when you know what to do, it’s easier to safely handle the situation. If your child experiences a dental emergency, contact us as soon as possible. After all, the best way to fix the current issue and prevent further damage is to act quickly. The professionals at Hollow Brook Dental are here for you, no matter what. We are the best dentist in Colorado Springs- just ask any of our patients.
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