We know it can be extremely frightening when your child gets hurt and we know how often accidents can happen especially during the summer months when they have more time to climb and play outside.
As a parent, we are prepared to put bandaids on scrapped knees, but do you know what to do if your child breaks a tooth? What if they knock out a permanent tooth? We are going to outline some steps you can take to help your child with these types of injuries.
Let’s talk about Fractured Teeth
If your child fractures a tooth gather any fragments you can find and store them in a clean container with saliva or milk (we will discuss more why this is better than storing in water when we discuss what to do when you lose a permanent tooth).
Have your child rinse their mouth with warm water if they are experiencing any pain and you can also give them Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Visit your dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped teeth. Fractured teeth can be repaired by your dentist by either using the original fragment (if it’s stored properly) or with a filling.
Knocked out Baby Tooth
Many parents may feel if their child gets a baby tooth knocked out it doesn’t matter, since the tooth was temporary. However, if a baby tooth is lost too soon can lead to other teeth shifting and crowding the vacant spot left behind. This can cause issues with their bite and alignment when their permanent teeth grow in. The best course of action is to visit your dentist as soon as possible to have them assess the placement of the incoming adult teeth and recommend any course of treatment if needed, such as a spacer to prevent crowding of teeth that may occur.
Knocked out Permanent Tooth
In this situation, you will need to visit your dentist or an emergency dentist right away.
If your child is bleeding then have them rinse their mouth with cool clean water and use clean gauze to apply pressure to the area to minimize and stop the bleeding. If you have the missing tooth, store it in a clean container with saliva or milk. Why saliva or milk and not water? Milk is a good medium for storing knocked-out teeth because cells from the root surface don’t swell up and burst as they do when placed in water. It contains proteins that keep a constant acid-to-alkaline ratio, anti-bacterial substances, as well as sugars to keep cells growing. If you don’t have access to milk saliva is better than nothing, place the tooth inside the person’s mouth, next to their cheek. Just make sure they don’t swallow it, this would only be recommended with older kids. If the dislodged tooth is stored properly, then your dentist will be able to assess and likely be able to reinstall it as long as it’s re-implanted soon after the trauma.
Bruises, scrapes, broken bones, and broken and knocked-out teeth happen, but being prepared can help not only reduce stress and anxiety but also help prevent more serious oral damage by taking the right steps in treating the injury.
If your child is active in sports that run the risk of mouth trauma we highly recommend ensuring they use a properly fitted mouthguard.