It’s one of the scariest injuries your little one can have, and also one of the most common. According to UpToDate, a medical resource written by physicians, 50 percent of children will have some type of injury to a tooth during childhood. The majority of these will involve at least one of the front teeth.
The good news is, dental injuries rarely lead to serious complications and most kids recover without a hitch. So try to relax – this will help calm the kiddo’s jitters as well. Here’s some advice on how to confidently handle an ouchie to the front teeth:
First Aid at Home
Did a sibling’s throw of the four-square ball catch your little one off guard? For minor injuries resulting in gum pain, apply a cold compress for 20 minutes. Popsicles are a nice way to cheer a child’s spirits while reducing swelling to the gums.
Oftentimes, the sight of blood alone is enough to release an avalanche of tears. For bleeding to the gums or lips, apply pressure to the area with wet gauze. (Call your dentist right away if bleeding continues after 10 minutes of direct pressure.)
Over the next few days, a minor mouth wound should heal and the area will appear pale or whitened. If your child continues to feel pain, a slightly loosened tooth gets darker, or your child expresses sensitivity to cold fluids, call us for an appointment.
Your child may chip a tooth after falling from a bicycle or a slide, or even while eating a piece of hard candy. When this happens, place all the pieces of the tooth you can find in milk, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water, and apply a cold compress. Call us as soon as possible for an appointment.
If a primary tooth becomes loosened to the brink of falling, your dentist may advise to remove it to prevent the possibility of choking. Dislodged baby teeth are not re-implanted; however, your dentist will want to check the area for potential damage to the permanent tooth.
Children whose permanent teeth are chipped or broken should be seen by a dentist for an evaluation. Until then, preserve the tooth fragments in milk and bring it with you to the appointment. Permanent teeth that get knocked out should be placed back into the socket and immediately rushed to the nearest dentist. The longer the tooth stays outside the mouth, the less likely it will survive.
Remember, mouth guards are one of the best ways to prevent injuries to the teeth during contact sports. Read our post on mouth guards here: Play It Safe
Photos: jonny.hunter and Growing a Green Family