By Vishant Nath DMD
The summer months bring with them lots of fun playtime, which can often lead to accidental injuries. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the best way to react to certain injuries, so that you can respond appropriately.
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. Obviously it’s most important to assess your child’s overall medical condition in the case of an injury. Injuries to the mouth can oftentimes be accompanied by injuries to the head. First determine if your child’s injury requires emergency room care. If the injury is focused only on the mouth, contact your pediatric dentist immediately. 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 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.
Some dental emergencies are not caused by injuries or trauma. Toothaches can be quite painful and bothersome to your child. Again, it’s important to contact your pediatric dentist immediately. To comfort your child, rinse the mouth with water. Apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth. Do not apply heat or aspirin to the sore area.
All of these scenarios have something in common. All require the immediate attention of a dentist. Time is truly of the essence. 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!