Dental Emergencies

In the normal course of raising children and living an active life in the Greater Boston area it is almost inevitable that your children will experience some form of dental trauma. This can be a scary and trying time for you as a parent and even more so for your children. That being said, we are providing you with the most recent information related to dental trauma. 


Toothache: Thoroughly clean the area of the affected tooth. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water and/or use dental floss to dislodge any food that may be impacted. If the pain persists, contact our office to schedule a visit. You can take Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen but do not place aspirin on the gum or aching tooth. If the face is swollen, apply cold compresses and contact Dr.Shaughnessy immediately.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: Apply ice to injured areas to help control swelling. Avoid spicy foods and keep the mouth clean. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure, call Dr.Shaughnessy or visit a nearby hospital emergency room.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth: If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown(top), not by the root. You may rinse the tooth with water only. DO NOT clean with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket it was dislodged from. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze or a clean cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk, NOT water. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth (within the cheek pouch). The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Knocked Out Baby Tooth: Contact our office and Dr.Shaughnessy.  Unlike with a permanent tooth, the baby tooth should not be replanted due to possible damage to the developing permanent tooth that is forming underneath.  In most cases, no treatment is necessary.

Chipped/Fractured Permanent Tooth: Time is a critical factor, contact our office for advice immediately so as to reduce the chance for infection or the need for extensive dental treatment in the future. Rinse the mouth with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.  If you can find the broken tooth piece, bring it with you to our office.

Chipped/Fractured Baby Tooth: Contact our office.

Severe Blow to the Head: Call 911 immediately and/or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw: Keep the jaw from moving and take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Read more about how to prevent dental emergencies during recreational activities and sports with mouth guards.