Children are at risk to injure their teeth, or suffer dental trauma, at just about any time. This includes damage to teeth as well as surrounding areas. While eating, playing, or taking part in other daily activities, kids can fracture, chip, loosen, or even knock out their permanent teeth. Fights are among the most common causes of kids’ dental trauma. The upper front teeth are the most likely to be damaged.
Not all types call for urgent expert care. Mild trauma may not even be noticed until a child sees the dentist for a regular exam. However, when a child fractures, displaces, or loses a tooth, there can be major negative effects. The possible effects are not just esthetic or functional, either. They can also be psychological, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
In addition, according to Today’s Dentistry, the result of dental trauma may not be clear for some time. Hidden consequences may persist, and the true effects may be hard to guess until some time goes by. That’s because some types of impact can force teeth into the nearby bone and affect the supply of blood to the tooth. Over time, this can cause the tooth to fail.
So, for most dental injuries, it’s important to see a dentist soon or even right away for an expert diagnosis and treatment. However, the steps you should take in a dental emergency will depend on the type of trauma your child has suffered.
Tooth Extrusion: Loosened or Displaced Teeth and Kids
The signs and symptoms of tooth extrusion include loose, dislodged, or displaced teeth. Kids end up with this type of dental trauma frequently just by being kids. Rough play or an accident are the most common causes.
An extruded tooth can be saved if it is not broken and still has blood and nerve vessels attached. To save the tooth, do not remove it from the socket. Have your child carefully keep it in their mouth. You may give them an over-the-counter pain reliever or a cold pack to help them deal with the pain, if needed. Then, head for your dentist’s office or the nearest emergency room right away.
Tooth Avulsion: Knocked Out Teeth and Kids
If your child’s permanent or adult tooth gets knocked out, there are some steps you should take to help the tooth survive. Baby teeth, on the other hand, are not re-implanted.
Before you see a dentist, be sure to do the following. Hold the tooth only by the top or crown, never by the roots. If it’s dirty, rinse it briefly in a dish filled with tap water. Do not scrub the tooth or detach tissue from it. Then, if possible, gently insert the tooth into its socket and gently hold the tooth in place. It may not go all the way in, but you can have the child gently bite down on a small bit of gauze or a wet teabag to keep it in place, if needed.
Above all, be sure you do not allow the tooth to dry out. If it won’t go back into the socket, even partially, you can place it in milk or saliva. A warm mixture of ¼ teaspoon of salt to 1 quart of water can also be used to keep an avulsed tooth moist. If nothing else is available, have the child tuck the tooth into their cheek until you reach the dentist.
Broken Teeth and Kids
If your child chips or breaks a tooth, call your dentist right away. Be sure to keep the pieces so you can take them to the dentist to be repaired.
Then, to clean the area, have your child rinse their mouth with warm water. Again, you may give the child an over-the-counter pain reliever or a cold pack to help them deal with any pain.
How to Help Prevent Dental Trauma in Children
Kids will be kids, and you can never protect them from every possible danger. However, if you know your kids will be taking part in rugged sports activities or other highly physical activities, wearing a fitted mouth guard can help to protect them from dental injuries.
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