A Chipped Baby Tooth can be a Dental Emergency

Parents deal with all sorts of different illnesses and injuries regarding their children. One of those injuries can be a kid's chipped tooth. Follow these steps to deal with a toddler's chipped tooth.

What Happens if a Baby Chips Their Tooth?

There are a few steps concerned parents must take for a child's chipped tooth.

Stay Calm

The first step is for you to stay calm. Your child probably won’t be, depending on how the chip occurred. If it was a pain-inducing accident, your child is likely to be crying and in a great deal of distress. Comforting your child is just as important as getting them the necessary medical help. You’ll function better and provide a sense of comfort to your child if you remain calm.

Check your Child

Immediately check your child to see if you can determine the extent of the injury. Are they bleeding from the mouth? Is the tooth completely knocked out or just chipped? Can you determine the chip’s severity? Is the emergency a toddler chipped front tooth?

You’ll need to make these determinations to give the medical provider the necessary information they need to assist your child.

Illustration of a sad chipped baby tooth

Call the Dentist

While remaining calm, and after you’ve assessed your child, call the dentist. Provide the dentist with a detailed explanation of what caused the chipped tooth. The dentist should then provide detailed instructions as to your next steps. This also includes scheduling an appointment, including an immediate office visit depending on the severity of the chip.

Rinse and Cold Compress

Get your child a cup of cool water to rinse their mouth. Once they rinse, have them spit out the water. After your child has rinsed and spit, apply a cold compress to the face near the chipped tooth. This will help minimize any swelling. 

While your child is holding the compress in place, look for and collect any tooth fragments. You’ll want to bring them to the dentist to assist with a potential tooth repair. If you can’t find any fragments, there is a chance your child swallowed them. Quickly assess your child’s condition. If you suspect any difficulty breathing, it could be due to swallowed tooth fragments. Bring your child to an emergency room if that is the case.

Expect Discoloration

Your child’s tooth might change colors. This can be a temporary or permanent condition. The color may change to gray, black, brown, or red. Often, any discoloration will fade with time, similar to bruised skin. Consult your child’s dentist if the color change doesn’t dissipate with time.

Be Diligent About Cleaning Your Kid's Teeth

Often a child's chipped tooth results from a fluke accident out of a parent’s control. What mom and dad can control is their children’s tooth care regimen. 

Be sure to brush their teeth at least twice each day. The younger they are, the more challenging that can be. If they are hesitant, offer to let them help. For instance, you can try this method: they get a turn, then you get a turn. Keep up that strategy until they warm up to have their teeth brushed. 

Don’t forget to floss their teeth too. And be sure to regularly schedule dental cleanings and checkups.

Pain Relief

Depending on the severity of the chip, your child could be suffering a fair amount of pain. Give your little one the appropriate dosage of ibuprofen to provide some relief. If that doesn’t work, call your dentist or pediatrician. 

An abscess can occur in an intreated chipped tooth

Can a Chipped Baby Tooth be Fixed?

Whether or not a chipped baby tooth can be fixed depends on the severity of the chip. Therefore, it is so critical for your child’s dentist to examine the chip. 

Visit the Dentist

Your child’s dentist needs to examine the chip to determine the correct course of action. If the chip is significant or if nerve damage has occurred, the dentist might recommend a tooth extraction. 

Infection risk is another concern that would make a dentist repair the tooth. A tooth that isn’t significantly chipped, but now has a sharp edge, would also need to be repaired. 

A primary tooth will eventually fall out, so in the case of a minimal chip, there might not be a need to do anything.

Know the Signs of an Abscess

A chipped tooth that goes untreated may cause specific symptoms in your child, including:

  • Fever
  • Facial pain
  • Difficulty eating
  • Chronic bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty sleeping

These symptoms could mean that your child has developed a tooth abscess or an infection. This requires medical attention to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body.

Find a Dentist Near Me

Consult your dentist to discuss any questions about what to do when your child has a broken baby tooth. Or, check out The Smile Generation to find a dentist near you for all your oral health needs. You can read patient reviews, peruse staff bios, and schedule an appointment online with a click of your mouse.

Find a Local Trusted Dentist near you


What to Do About Chipped Baby Teeth, Crest, https://crest.com/en-us/oral-care-tips/infants-and-toddlers/what-to-do-about-chipped-teeth

Dr. Tri M. Le, “What to Do When a Child Chips a Tooth”, Bunker Hill Dentistry, June 26, 2019, https://www.bunkerhilldentistry.com/2019/06/26/what-to-do-when-child-chips-tooth/

Marcin, Ashley, “Your Toddler Chipped a Tooth? What to Do Next,” Healthline, May 27, 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/toddler-chipped-tooth

Larson, Jennifer, “How to Brush Your Toddler’s Teeth (and Tips for When They Refuse),” Healthline, March 10, 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/brushing-a-toddlers-teeth

Pediatric dentist Trista Onesti, DDS, “What Should I Do for My Child’s Chipped Tooth?” Cleveland Clinic, March 26, 2018, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-should-i-do-for-my-childs-chipped-tooth/

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