General Health & Wellness • Jun 17, 2010

Kids’ Dental Injuries

Nice weather is great! Kids are having so much fun playing outside, but sadly, with all the fun, the injuries come too. I have had lots of kids coming to the ER with dental injuries, so I thought I may write about what to do in those cases.

Dental injuries include:

– Loose tooth
– Displaced tooth
– Chipped or fractured tooth
– Tooth knocked out

The most common causes of kids’ dental injuries depend on the age of the child:

– Falls for toddlers
– Bicycle and playground accidents for school-aged children
Sports injuries, car accidents and fights for adolescents

Like always, prevention is one of the most important things to do:

– When participating in contact sports, ask your child to use a mouthguard
– Front teeth that stick out are more easily harmed so talk with your dentist about this situation
– When your child is in a car, ALWAYS use a car seat or seat-belt, depending of your child’s age
– Childproof your home

If your child has a minor dental injury, call your dentist for evaluation within 24 hours. Some minor dental injuries are:

– Baby tooth knocked out by injury (the dentist can check for damage to the permanent tooth)
– Tooth slightly pushed out of its normal position
– Tooth feels very loose

Things you can do at home are:

– Local cold compress to help with the inflammation
– Pain management with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin)
– Soft diet for 3 days

In case of a serious injury like a knocked-out permanent tooth:

It needs to be re-implanted as soon as possible for it to have a chance to be saved! Ideally within 2 hours. So call your dentist immediately!

Rinse the tooth off with saliva or water (do not scrub it). If the child is old enough, replace it in the socket, have the child bite down on a piece of cloth to keep it on place and go to the dentist immediately.
Remember that baby teeth can’t be re-implanted.

If you can’t put the tooth back in its socket, it’s very important to keep it moist. You can transport it inside of the child’s mouth (if older than 12 years) or put it in milk or saliva.

Other reasons to see the dentist immediately are:

– A permanent tooth is almost falling out or is chipped (if you can locate the piece of tooth, bring it to the dentist too)
– Persistent bleeding
– A tooth is pushed out of its normal position
– Severe pain

Remember that it’s very important for your child to have regular dental visits. Also, ask your dentist about how to contact them in case of an emergency (day, night and weekends).