Kids, as we know, can be very active. With so much energy coursing through their growing bodies, combined with a nearly endless curiosity, it’s almost inevitable that one day they’ll “fall down–go boom.”
No matter the child’s age or the type of accident, the primary goal when treating a traumatic dental injury is to save any teeth at risk of loss, and restore them to their original function and appearance. If you experience a dental emergency, be sure to call Kids Dental as soon as possible. Since the difference between saving and losing a tooth can depend on taking proper action immediately after an injury occurs, here are some quick guidelines on how to treat dental injuries before bringing your child in to our 24-hour pediatric clinic:
Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly by rinsing the mouth with warm salt water and gently using dental floss to dislodge any trapped food or debris.
DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If your child’s face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Use acetaminophen [or ibuprofen?] for pain and schedule an appointment with Dr. Sonia as soon as possible.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek
Apply ice to injured areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes, or cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to a hospital emergency room.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
Find the tooth. Handle it only by the top portion (the crown), not the root. You may rinse the tooth, but DO NOT clean or handle it unnecessarily. Try to reinsert it in its socket, then have the child hold the tooth in place by gently biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, then transport it IMMEDIATELY to the dentist in a container of milk or water. Time is a critical factor in making sure the tooth can be replanted.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth
If your child has knocked out a baby tooth, apply pressure with a washcloth to stop any bleeding. Our pediatric doctors do not replant baby teeth as it can cause damage to the developing adult tooth below; however, we do recommend scheduling an appointment so we can be sure no other teeth were damaged in the incident.
Broken Brace and Wires
If a broken appliance can be easily removed, then take it out. If you can’t remove it, then cover the sharp or protruding portion with cotton balls, gauze, or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, DO NOT remove it. Take the child to a dentist immediately. Loose or broken appliances that do not bother the child don’t usually require emergency attention.
Rinse any dirt from the injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the face in the area of the injury. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments.
Immediate dental attention is necessary.
Other Emergency Conditions
Possible Broken Jaw
If a fractured jaw is suspected, try to keep the jaw from moving by using a towel, tie, or handkerchief. Then take the child to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Bleeding After Baby Tooth Falls Out
Fold and pack a clean gauze or cloth over the bleeding area. Have the child bite on the gauze with steady pressure for 15 minutes. This may be repeated once; if bleeding persists, see a dentist.
Many children occasionally suffer from “cold” or “canker” sores. Usually over-the-counter preparations can give relief. Because some serious diseases may begin as sores, it’s important to have a dental evaluation if the sores persist.