Going to the dentist is not typically a high priority for most kids, who would rather be somewhere else playing or even in school. An emergency dental visit can increase their anxiety even more. Here are some things that parents can do to calm their children during a dental emergency.

Contact the Dentist

Call your regular dentist and explain the problem. Find out if your child needs to be seen right away by that dentist or by an emergency dentist specialist, or if the problem can be treated at home. Write down detailed instruction so you don’t forget them. Explain to your child what needs to be done.

Avoid Anxiety

Be a model of calm and control to your child. Despite the problem, let him or her know that you have a plan for what to do. Explain that everything will be fine and that the child needs to follow the dentist’s recommendations for care and treatment. If a visit to the dentist’s office or the Emergency Department is needed, transport your child safety or contact EMS for assistance. Talk in a normal tone of voice without becoming visibly upset. Smiles and hugs can help everyone feel better.

Keep Your Child Comfortable

Depending on your child’s age, offer a favorite toy to little ones or let older ones listen to their favorite music with earbuds or on the car radio. Provide pain medication if the dentist approves as needed or an ice pack if relevant. Don’t forget to grab a jacket or coat if the weather is chilly. If the child resists going to the dentist, firmly but lovingly explain that it is necessary for him or her to feel better and to help keep teeth healthy.

Follow the Dentist’s Recommendations

Even if you feel the dental emergency is minor or has subsided, don’t stop the dental treatment recommended by your dentist. This might include taking antibiotics, for example. You should always complete the full course of medicine unless your child develops a reaction to it. Do not let the child stop taking medicine if he or she begins to feel better. Report any new or changing symptoms to the dentist right away so your child’s condition can be monitored effectively.

Dental emergencies can be especially worrisome to a child, as they may impact his or her ability to speak clearly or eat. Reassure your child that help is available and that the problem will soon be resolved.

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