School is out for the summer and your kiddos’ days are filled with summer camps, trips to the park, vacation, and playing outside. In addition to being the most fun season for kids, summer also is a prime time for tooth injuries. Do you know what to do if your child experiences tooth trauma?
First, check to make sure your child did not suffer a more serious injury. If you believe your child experienced a major head or neck impact, has lost consciousness, or may have fractured their jaw, call 911 or seek care at your nearest emergency room.
If your child doesn’t have a more serious injury, gently clean the affected area with water and try to control any bleeding or swelling with cold compresses. Look to see what type of tooth injury has occurred:
- Chipped Tooth
You may notice a piece of your child’s tooth is missing. Depending on the severity of the chip, and whether the tooth is a baby tooth or adult tooth, your dentist will determine the most appropriate treatment. If the chip is large and/or you see bleeding from the center of the tooth, give us a call to determine if your child needs to be evaluated right away. If possible, find the broken piece of tooth and bring it with you to your child’s dental appointment in a container with milk or saliva to keep the fragment moist.
- Bruised or Loose Tooth
Some accidents cause teeth to become bruised or loose. In many cases, your dentist will recommend monitoring the tooth and the tooth may make a full recovery. Depending on the severity of the injury, and whether the tooth is a baby tooth or adult tooth, additional treatment might be needed. Give us a call so we can determine when your child should be evaluated.
- Knocked Out Tooth
The most time-sensitive dental injury is when a permanent tooth is completely knocked out. If this happens, remain calm and pick the tooth up by the crown (the part that is visible in the mouth) and place it back immediately into the jaw. If the tooth appears dirty, gently rinse it with milk, sterile saline or your child’s saliva and replant it to the original position in the jaw. Then have your child gently bite on gauze or a clean napkin to hold the tooth in place while you travel to receive dental care. If you are unable to replant the tooth, place the tooth immediately into a container of milk, saliva, or a balanced salt solution like Save-A-Tooth™. Call us immediately to arrange for an emergency appointment.
If the knocked-out tooth is a baby tooth, it should not be replanted. Call us for an exam so we can assess the area around the missing tooth for damage or any other issues that may need to be addressed. (And don’t forget to prepare for a Tooth Fairy visit!)
With all dental injuries, focus on keeping your child comfortable with cold compresses and soft foods. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed to help manage pain.
In any dental emergency, remember KCDO is only a phone call away. We can help you determine just how quickly your child needs to be seen by one of our doctors. And our answering service will help you reach a doctor during those after-hours emergencies.