We tend to get our children to the dentist more frequently than we go ourselves. In fact, over 64% of children in the US have been to the dentist in the last six months—a higher rate than people who are 18 years old or older!
As a parent, your child’s dental health is one of your priorities. You want to make sure that they establish good dental hygiene skills and that as those baby teeth fall out, their permanent teeth come in strong and healthy.
What do you do if your child appears to be having a dental emergency? Seek emergency pediatric dentist services as soon as possible.
It’s not always easy for our kids to explain what kinds of symptoms they’re experiencing. Let’s take a look at five signs that your child is in need of an emergency pediatric dentist so that you can be prepared in case of an emergency.
1. Stinky Breath in Spite of Brushing
Of course, it’s normal to wake up with stinky breath, but what happens if your child still has stinky breath after brushing, flossing, and even using mouthwash? Their teeth appear clean, but there’s still that smell we associate with plaque build-up on the teeth, gums, and tongue.
When stinky breath persists regardless of your child’s dental hygiene routine, this is likely a sign of a dental issue. Oftentimes, infections in the gums or the roots of the teeth produce a foul-smelling odor.
If your child is not also experiencing pain, it may seem like a small issue. However, when these kinds of infections are left to worsen without dental treatment, they can escalate to the point of an emergency. The best course of action is to get an emergency dental appointment as soon as you notice the presence of persistent stinky breath.
2. Ongoing Feelings of Pain in the Mouth, Head, or Neck
It can be difficult for young children to pinpoint where they are experiencing pain or what is causing it. If your child comments regularly on pain in their mouth (i.e., their gums or teeth), their neck, or even areas of the head like the ears, it may be a dental emergency.
We may assume that things like tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures are temporary. However, any of the pain we’ve discussed here, including tooth sensitivity, might be a deeper issue. A tooth may be infected or decaying, which calls for emergency removal.
3. Loose Teeth That Cause Pain
For most of our little ones, the permanent teeth are starting to grow in and push the baby teeth out by around the age of six. Loose, wiggly teeth become commonplace for a few years, and most of the time, pain is minimal. (Occasionally, you may encounter a root that doesn’t want to come out and may hurt for a few moments after the tooth is removed—this is nothing to worry about.)
However, if a tooth—even a baby tooth—is causing severe pain when it becomes loose, this is probably a sign of a dental emergency. This pain may be caused by an infection, which should be treated as soon as possible.
As long as the infected tooth is addressed by a dentist, the damage is containable. However, if the infection is not addressed quickly, it could spread to other teeth or cause decay in the permanent tooth that is trying to come in.
4. Bleeding or Swollen Gums
Sometimes, you might notice a little bit of pink in the sink after brushing or flossing. If the issue isn’t frequent and the bleeding stops in a few seconds, there isn’t much to worry about. Maybe put some extra effort into the dental hygiene routine and make sure that the gums are happy and healthy.
However, if there is a large amount of bleeding that does not stop in fifteen minutes or less, this is a dental emergency. Whether the bleeding was caused by trauma to the mouth or something as simple as flossing, it’s important to seek out the help of an emergency pediatric dentist.
Swelling is also a cause for concern. If you or your child notice that they have a swollen spot in their gums, make sure to monitor it for a few days. If the swelling goes down on its own after one or two days, you may not need an emergency dental appointment.
However, if the swelling is severe or persistent for several days, it’s time to see a pediatric dentist. This kind of swelling may indicate an abscess, which is a side effect of untreated decay. Your emergency pediatric dentist will treat both the abscess in the gums and the decay that caused it.
5. Change of Color in Teeth
This one is rare but can indicate a serious dental emergency. Most children have teeth that range from pearly white to mildly yellow. The younger they are, the less their teeth should appear stained.
If you notice that your child’s teeth are turning gray or black, see your pediatric dentist right away. On occasion, this is a genetic condition. More likely, it is a sign that the teeth are dying—something that needs to be addressed immediately.
Know the Signs and Call Your Emergency Pediatric Dentist
As parents, you stay on top of your child’s dental health. Sometimes, spotting an emergency isn’t always easy, especially when children are at a young age and have a difficult time describing their symptoms. With this list, you’re prepared to spot a dental emergency right away and call your emergency pediatric dentist.
Nolensville Pediatric Dentistry is proud to serve the families in the Nolensville area. To schedule an appointment for your child, contact us today.