While dental injuries for children are fairly common, they can be stressful and nerve-wracking for you and your child. Read through some of the following helpful tips when assessing your child’s dental emergency.
- Remain calm. With a clear head, you will be able to act more promptly and effectively help minimize your child’s injury and calm their distress.
- If your child hit their head and lost consciousness even for a brief moment, and/or if one pupil seems larger than the other, TAKE YOUR CHILD TO THE HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM RIGHT AWAY! Worry about the teeth later.
- Use a clean washcloth or gauze to stop bleeding and inspect your child’s mouth. If there are broken or missing teeth, look for the teeth or teeth fragments
If your child has a very loose tooth, it should be removed to avoid being swallowed or inhaled.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth
If the knocked-out tooth is a baby tooth, don’t re-insert it or try to save it. We normally do not attempt to save the baby tooth as the tooth will likely ankylose (fuse to the bone) and cause problems for your child’s permanent tooth when it tries to erupt. Have them rinse their mouth with warm water and then use a cold compress to reduce any swelling.
Carefully hold the tooth by its crown (not roots). If possible, gently insert the tooth back in its socket, and hold it there. Have your child bite softly on a clean cloth or folded paper towel to hold the tooth in place once inserted, then visit the dentist immediately! If inserting the tooth back inside the socket is not possible, store the tooth in milk.
If you really want to be prepared for handling a knocked-out permanent tooth, the Save-A-Tooth® Emergency Tooth Preserving System (Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution) is the most ideal way to transport a tooth. It is a patented six-part device that protects knocked out teeth from the two primary causes of replanted tooth loss: tooth root cell crushing and tooth cell nutrient depletion. The Save-A-Tooth® System uses a scientifically engineered removable basket and net to hold the tooth, and a special pH balanced preserving fluid (HBSS) that preserves and reconstitutes tooth cells. Purchase online at: http://www.save-a-tooth.com.
There is only a small window of opportunity to save the tooth. If the knocked-out tooth is a baby tooth, don’t re-insert it. We normally do not attempt to save the baby tooth as the tooth will likely ankylose (fuse to the bone) and cause problems for your child’s permanent tooth when it tries to erupt.
If your child complains of a toothache, rinse his or her mouth with warm water and inspect his or her teeth to be sure there is nothing caught between them. If pain continues, use a cold compress to ease the pain. Do not apply heat or any kind of aspirin or topical pain reliever directly to the affected area, as this can cause damage to the gums. Children’s pain relievers may be taken orally. Schedule an appointment immediately.
Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Tooth
If your child has chipped or broken a piece off of his tooth, have him rinse his mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Try to locate and save the tooth fragment that broke off. Call us immediately.
Object Caught In Teeth
If your child has something caught between his or her teeth, use dental floss to gently remove it. Never use a metal, plastic, or sharp tool to remove a stuck object. If you are unable to remove the item with dental floss, give us a call.
Bitten Lip or Tongue
If your child has bitten his lip or tongue severely enough to cause bleeding, clean the bite gently with water and use a cold compress (a cold, wet towel or washcloth pressed firmly against the area) to reduce or avoid swelling. Give us a call to help determine how serious the bite is.
If you know or suspect your child has sustained a broken jaw, use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Call our emergency number and/or head to the hospital immediately. In many cases a broken jaw is the result of a blow to the head. Severe blows to the head can be dangerous and even life threatening.
You can help your child avoid dental emergencies. Childproof your house to avoid falls. Don’t let your child chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard foods. Always use car seats for young children and require seatbelts for older children. And if your child plays contact sports, have him or her wear a mouthguard. Ask us about creating a custom-fitted mouthguard for your child. Finally, prevent toothaches with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to our office.