5 Signs Your Child Needs an Emergency Dentist Visit

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It might be a rite of passage to crack a tooth on the monkey bars, but there are some dental problems that you shouldn’t ignore or accept as childhood milestones. Here are just a few signs that something more serious is going on with your kid’s teeth.

They have symptoms of an abscess

An abscessed tooth is one where the dental root has become infected. Common symptoms include pain, fever, redness and swelling of the face and jaw. If there’s pus, it may or may not be visible to the naked eye.

It’s very important not to ignore the signs of a tooth abscess: They send thousands of people to the hospital every year, and there have even been deaths from infections that have spread from a tooth to another part of the body (brain, heart, etc.)

They have persistent pain, especially pain that increases over time

If your child is experiencing tooth pain, you’ll want to take them to a children’s dentist sooner rather than later. Pain is often one of the last symptoms of a tooth problem that’s been building up for a while. By the time that the decay, inflammation, erosion or abscess has reached the point of causing pain, it’s already taken root in the mouth, and over-the-counter medication isn’t going to fix it. It needs professional treatment.

They’re losing teeth too quickly or in unusual circumstances

Baby teeth can fall out at any time. Some can even fall out without the usual warning signs. If your child is losing a lot of teeth at once, however, or if they’re losing them while experiencing symptoms like pain, nausea or swollen lymph nodes, you might be looking at something more dangerous than a simple visit from the tooth fairy.

They’re experiencing strange tastes in their mouth

Unless your child has been eating weird things at the playground, there’s no reason for them to taste foulness in their mouth.

Ask them to try and pin down the “flavor” of the feeling. If it’s metallic, they might have a cracked filling. If it’s salty, they might be tasting pus from a ruptured abscess. If it’s coppery, they might be licking bloody gums without even realizing it.

A minor mouth injury isn’t going away

Anyone can burn the roof of their mouth with hot soup, but if your child hasn’t had chicken noodles in several weeks and their palate is still burning, it could be a sign of something serious. The same goes for inflamed gums or a swollen tongue. They aren’t anything to worry about as one-time affairs, but if they persist, you might want to get on the phone with a dentist.

These are just a few warning bells for problems with your child’s oral health. When in doubt, reach out to a professional just in case. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.


Anica Oaks is a freelance writer who hails from San Francisco. When she’s not writing, she’s enjoying her time outside with her dogs. Anica recommends finding a children’s dentist to for your dental needs. Keep up with her on Twitter @anicaoaks 

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