Pediatric Dental Emergencies

Children are energetic and adventurous, and therefore more likely to experience dental injuries. If your child has sustained an injury, Dr. Brent J. Porter, your Santa Cruz Children’s Dentist, and his team suggest that you follow these instructions to maintain control of the situation:

Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth

Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the top (crown), not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth, but DO NOT clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the child hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert it in its socket, transport the tooth in a cup containing milk. See Brent J. Porter, D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Pediatric Dentist, IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek

Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to a hospital emergency room.


Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm salt water or use dental floss to dislodge trapped food or debris. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Take acetaminophen for pain and see Brent J. Porter, D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Children’s Dentist as soon as possible.

Broken Braces and Wires

If a broken appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If it cannot be removed, cover the sharp or protruding portion with cotton balls, gauze or dental wax. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, DO NOT remove it and call our office immediately. Take the child to a dentist immediately. Loose or broken appliances that do not bother the child don’t usually require emergency attention.

Broken Tooth

Clean the injured area with warm water, place a cold compress over the face in the area of the injury, locate and save any broken tooth fragments. Immediately contact Brent J. Porter, D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Pediatric Dentist as soon as possible.

Possible Broken Jaw

If a fractured jaw is suspected, try to keep the jaws from moving by using a towel, tie, or handkerchief, then take the child to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Bleeding After Baby Tooth Falls Out

Fold and pack a clean gauze or cloth over the bleeding area. Have the child bite on the gauze with pressure for 15 minutes. This may be repeated once; if bleeding persists, call Brent J. Porter, D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Children’s Dentist, as soon as possible.

Cold/Canker Sores

Many children occasionally suffer from "cold" or "canker" sores, usually over-the-counter preparations give relief. Because some serious diseases may begin as sores, it is important to have a dental evaluation if these sores persist. Please contact Brent J. Porter, D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Pediatric Dentist for evaluation and possible anti-viral prescription.

Dental Health & Your Child's Diet

Your body works hard to convert the foods you eat into energy. You may not think twice about what you are eating, but the food you put in your mouth affects more than just your waistline. The truth is, your diet has a direct effect on your overall dental health. Developing good eating habits can lead to excellent oral health, free of decay and gum disease.

Are there any other habits my child should be adopting to improve their oral health?

Yes. Your child should be flossing daily and brushing twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Your child should also be seen at least twice per year for oral exams and professional dental cleanings.

For more information please contact the office of Brent J. Porter D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Children’s Dentist (831) 459-9802.