Dental trauma in Young Children
Whether it is a fall inside or outside of the home, parents are often confused as to what is the best way to treat dental trauma, including damage to the mouth or gums or the loss of a tooth.
Baby Tooth vs Permanent Teeth
If your child loses a baby tooth prematurely, there is no need to replace it. If a permanent tooth is damaged or becomes dislodged, it becomes a dental emergency. Permanent teeth have the best chance of survival if they are replaced within 15 minutes of the trauma. The way you handle the tooth is extremely important.
If your child has a tooth knocked out or if it is chipped or broken:
- Find the tooth (or collect any pieces) and try to establish if it is a baby tooth or permanent tooth (baby teeth generally have smooth edges).
- Hold the tooth by the crown, not the root of the tooth (the crown is the chewing end).
- Place the tooth in a container of milk or your child’s saliva (do not store in tap water).
- To relieve pain and bleeding have your child bite down on a gauze pad or a handkerchief.
- Call your dentist and tell them it is an emergency. They will give you more detailed instructions on what to do and how quickly to come in.
If your baby or toddler injures their gum or baby teeth without tooth loss:
- Apply an icepack or cold wet gauze pad to the cheek or gum directly.
- Watch for swelling or a change of colour to the tooth.
- Call your dentist. He or she will be able to determine any significant damage by examining your child’s mouth and teeth.
It’s impossible to guard against common childhood accidents and falls. As your child grows, ensure they wear helmets while bike riding, scootering or skateboarding. For any contact sports, ensure they wear a mouthguard and protective head gear.
This information was developed in consultation with a dentist. Always seek guidance and treatment from a qualified dental professional in the event of an accident or any time you are concerned about their oral health.
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