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Dental First Aid

Dental First Aid is quick and easy to learn. Being aware of dental first aid can help to reduce the severity and long-term effects of a dental emergency. More specifically, the early and appropriate treatment of dental emergencies in children will often prevent a condition from developing into one of a more serious nature.

Type of Injury and First Aid Treatment


Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any food that might be trapped in the cavity (especially between the teeth). If swelling is present, place cold compresses to the outside of the cheek. Do not use heat. Do not place aspirin on gum tissue of aching tooth. Take the child to the dentist immediately.

Knocked-out tooth

Do not clean the tooth. Place it in milk, saliva or water. Take the child and tooth to the dentist immediately.

Broken or bumped tooth

Try to clean dirt from the injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses on the face next to the injured tooth to minimize swelling. Take the child to the dentist immediately. Check for broken tooth chips, or fragments in lip, cheeks, etc.

Bitten tongue or lip

Apply direct pressure to bleeding area with a sterile cloth. If swelling is present, apply cold compresses. If bleeding does not stop readily or the bite is severe, take the child to the hospital emergency department.

Objects wedged between teeth

Try to remove the object with dental floss. Guide the floss in carefully to avoid cutting the gums. If unsuccessful, take the child to a dentist. Do not try to remove with sharp or pointed objects.

Possible fractured jaw

If suspected, immobilize the jaw by any means (handkerchief, neck tie, towel) and take the child to the hospital emergency room.

Adapted from: Ontario Association of Public Health Dentists. (2000). “Teachers’ Reference Manual of Dental Information.