By Vishant Nath DMD
Having children means having to deal with falls and other types of accidents. Hopefully most injuries can be managed with a simple first aid kit. But for some accidents, further follow up is needed. This article will provide information on dealing with accidents affecting the mouth.
This is probably a good time to address the importance of establishing a “dental home” for your child. This means that your child has an ongoing relationship with his or her dentist (the Primary Dental Care Provider), which includes comprehensive oral health care, beginning no later than age one. Even for older children who have not been to the dentist regularly, it’s never too late to establish a dental home.
If your child has an injury that causes a tooth to become knocked out, contact your pediatric dentist immediately. If the tooth is a primary, or baby tooth the emphasis will probably not be toward saving the tooth. However, it’s still important for your child to be seen by a dentist so that they can check for damage to any adjacent teeth.
If your child loses a permanent, or adult tooth, its much more critical that every effort is put into saving the tooth. Most dentists should have a 24-hour phone number to contact if the injury occurs after hours or on weekends, if you are an existing patient. Find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water. Do not scrub it with soap. Use only water. If possible, replace the tooth in the socket (never with it overnight to avoid aspiration) and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk, saliva, or water. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
If your child chips or fractures a tooth, contact your pediatric dentist immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection, and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, bring it with you to the dentist.
All of these scenarios have something in common. All require the immediate attention of a dentist. Time is truly of the essence in regards to permanent teeth. Having a pediatric dentist who is familiar with you and your child can greatly assist you in nursing your child back to great dental health!