Management of Common Dental Emergencies:

Knocked-out Permanent (Adult) Tooth:

Keep the tooth moist at all times. Hold the tooth by the crown (never by the root), and if the tooth is dirty, rinse it in water. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments. The tooth must not be left outside the mouth to dry. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If it cannot be replaced in the socket, put it in one of the following: (1.) emergency tooth preservation kit Hanks Balanced Salt Solution, (2.) Milk, (3.) mouth (next to cheek-older children only), (4.) if none of these are available, use water with a pinch of salt.

Bring the patient to the pediatric dental office as soon as possible (and don’t forget the tooth!) If this accident occurred after normal business hours, immediately activate the emergency on call number to obtain specific instructions. Ideally, this tooth needs to be reimplanted as soon as possible!

Knocked-out Primary (baby) Tooth:

Because primary teeth have a poor posts-implantation prognosis, these teeth are not implanted into the mouth.  Long-term studies have shown that reimplantation of these teeth routinely cause infection and possible damage to the developing permanent tooth.  We do, however, recommend that you contact our office to notify us of this injury.  Normally a routine visit during business hours will be scheduled to x-ray the avulsion site to ensure the entire tooth actually came out.

Cracked or Broken Tooth:

Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area.  Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down.  Take your child to see the dentist.  If possible, take the broken fragment with you (placed in milk).  Though this fragment may not also be reattached, it can provide some additional information as to the type of injury that was sustained to the tooth.

Object Caught Between the Teeth:

Gently try to remove the object with dental floss.  If you’re not successful, contact our office for additional advice.  Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument as this can cause additional damage to the teeth and surrounding tissue. 


Rinse the mouth with warm salt water to clean out any loose debris.  Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth.  Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissue.  Analgesics such as Tylenol or Motrin can be used to alleviate any pain.  Take your child to visit the pediatric dental office during normal business hours.  If you require advice call the emergency number.  It is important you have a pharmacy telephone number available, as the pediatric dentist may need to call in an antibiotic.

Canker and Cold Sores:

Children occasionally experience cold sores around the lips and canker sores inside the mouth.  Products are available at your local pharmacy that will help minimize the pain and discomfort. Be sure that the product is approved for use on children. The sores most often take one to two weeks to completely heal.