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My Child Chipped a Tooth, Now What?

May 21, 2024

Dental emergencies occur frequently with children, and a chipped tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies pediatric dentists treat. Each year, tens of thousands of children chip a tooth for various reasons, including falls, blows to the face, biting hard items, and other accidents. A chipped tooth is usually more of a cosmetic issue, but occasionally, it can have more severe consequences like nerve damage.

Step #1 - Evaluate your child

As soon as you realize that your child has been involved in dental trauma, such as chipping a tooth, make sure the child is safe, calm, and conscious. If you realize your child may be unconscious or is exhibiting symptoms of unconsciousness or concussion (confusion, inability to speak, vomiting), dial 911 immediately and have the child transported to the emergency room. 

Step #2 - Perform visual physical inspection

Check your child for bruises, cuts, scrapes, bleeding on the skin, lips, face, and other parts of the body. Lift your child’s lips and check for the same in the mouth, and determine which teeth are chipped, broken, loose, or missing.

Step #3 - Try to Locate the Missing Piece of Tooth

If the tooth is chipped, try to locate the missing fragment of tooth so it can be preserved and brought with you to the child’s dental appointment. Sometimes dentists are able to reattach tooth fragments to preserve the overall structure of the tooth.

Step #4 - Put the Tooth Fragment in Milk

If you can find the tooth fragment, avoid touching the broken area. Instead, hold it by the unbroken enamel and immediately place it in a cup of cold milk. Keep the tooth fragment in the milk until the child’s dental appointment. If you are unable to place it in milk, water is fine.

Step #5 - Call a Pediatric Emergency Dentist

Once the child is cared for and the tooth fragment is handled, it’s time to call a local pediatric emergency dentist to schedule an emergency visit. Use online search tools and maps to find local pediatric dentists, read their reviews, and possibly even schedule an appointment online.

Step #6 - The Pediatric Emergency Dental Visit

The pediatric dentist will evaluate the extent of the damage to the child’s tooth and make a decision about either reattaching the tooth fragment or repairing the part of the tooth left in the child’s mouth. If they decide not to reattach the tooth fragment, they will cover the exposed inner tooth and file down the edge so it does not cut the soft tissues inside the child’s mouth. If the nerve of the tooth is exposed, it is possible your child may need additional treatment

Step #7 - After-Visit Care

The pediatric dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for the child’s tooth after the visit, depending on whether they chose to reattach the tooth fragment. Follow their instructions carefully to ensure no further damage to the affected tooth. These instructions will include information on how to clean the area, foods and activities to avoid, and pain relief if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dental Emergencies

If my child chips a baby tooth, do I still need to make an emergency visit?

Yes, even if your child chips a baby tooth you still need to bring them in for an emergency evaluation. Sometimes there is more damage to the interior of the tooth or to the soft tissues of the mouth than first meets the eye, and even a hairline crack in a tooth is big enough to allow bacteria inside, leading to possible infection.

My child’s tooth fragment cannot be reattached and they are worried about their smile…are there any options?

Yes, there are cosmetic dental procedures offered for children and teenagers who are worried about the appearance of their smile after chipping or losing a tooth.

Chipped Tooth Care for Children in Broward County

If your child chips a tooth, our talented, compassionate staff will make you and your child feel welcome and safe in our state-of-the-art dental office specifically designed for children. To speak with us about an emergency dental visit, call 954-799-6212. If it’s after office hours, instructions will be provided on the main office line. If your child is having a life-threatening medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

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Akoya Pediatric Dentistry
15761 Sheridan Street Suite A
Southwest Ranches, FL 33314
Tel: 954-799-6212 | Fax:
Monday | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday | By appointment only
Sunday | Closed

Contact our office today to schedule your child's appointment!

Akoya Pediatric Dentistry
15761 Sheridan Street Suite A
Southwest Ranches, FL 33314
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