Child Dental Trauma
What do you do when your child has broken or knocked out a tooth? Following these guidelines will help lessen your child’s discomfort and prevent infection.
Nearly 50% of children will suffer dental trauma during childhood. Injuries to the mouth and teeth include falling accidents and sports injuries. In all mouth/dental traumas, the first priority is to make sure the child has not suffered a serious head injury. If he is unconscious or has signs of a concussion, immediately bring to the Emergency Department for an evaluation.
If A Tooth Is Chipped Or Broken
If your child chips his tooth, clean any blood from the mouth and surrounding soft tissues. Applying a cold compress will also reduce any swelling. Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. If you can find the tooth fragment, it is important to also bring it with you (in a zip top plastic bag, for example).
If A BABY Tooth Is Knocked Out
Again, clean any blood from the mouth and surrounding soft tissues. Applying a cold compress to reduce any swelling and contact your pediatric dentist. It is NOT recommended that a baby tooth be replanted, therefore, spend time comforting your child instead of looking for the tooth. The pediatric dentist will do an evaluation and if it is indicated, can make an appliance to replace the missing tooth until the permanent one erupts.
IF A PERMANENT Tooth Is Knocked Out
It is important to find the tooth so the pediatric dentist can replant the tooth. If you are comfortable in replacing the tooth back in the socket, first gently rinse the tooth (less than 10 seconds) in cool water, but do not scrub it or use soap. After you replant the tooth, hold it in place with a gauze or cloth as you transport your child to the dentist. If you are unable to put the tooth back into the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with cold MILK. Do not transport the tooth dry or in water. Take your child to the dentist immediately. If it is after business hours, call the emergency number for the dental office or if that is not available, bring your child to the emergency room.
Remember, your quick action and a treatment by a pediatric dentist can help prevent infection and increase the prognosis of the tooth. In many cases, these dental emergencies can be prevented. Here a few tips in preventing dental trauma:
• If your child plays a contact sport, encourage him/her to wear a professionally mouth guard.
• Always use a car seat for young children and seat belts for all other passengers.
• If you have toddlers (2 to 3 years old), child proof your home to prevent mouth injuries.
You can always contact us or visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (aapd.org) for more information on preventing and treating dental injuries.
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