It’s no secret that children love nothing more than running around. Whether they’re climbing on furniture while your back is turned or playing in the street with their friends, accidents are bound to happen.
When those accidents come in the form of a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth, it’s helpful to know the right steps to take to get the problem solved quickly – with as little panic and pain to your child as possible.
How Do I Know If It’s Serious?
The truth is that there is no sure way of knowing for sure whether the damage to your child’s tooth is serious or not without consulting a dentist. Even if your child feels no pain, there is still the possibility that the tooth needs to be treated.
If a larger piece of the tooth has broken off, your child will likely be in pain. This is especially true if the cut reaches the pulp to the tooth, where the nerves and blood vessels live. If this is penetrated, you child will be extremely sensitive to hot and cold food and drink.
Baby Teeth vs. Permanent Teeth
If it is a baby tooth that has been damaged, your child’s dentist may decide to leave it be, as the damage will not be long-lasting. If the injury has left a jagged edge, they might choose to smooth the tooth down for the comfort of your child.
For damaged front teeth, it is more likely that a tooth-coloured filling will be injected to restore the appearance of a normal tooth.
If your child’s baby tooth is knocked out, it is important that you do not attempt to replant it as you would with a permanent tooth, as this could cause damage to the adult tooth waiting to come in. Instead, let your dentist decide the right course of action.
If it is a permanent tooth that has been damaged, contact your dentist as soon as possible. While you wait for your appointment, rinse your child’s mouth with water to clean the area and inspect their mouth for any fragments of tooth that may be caught in their gums or lips. Staunch any bleeding with a clean piece of wet gauze and hold a cold cloth to the area to reduce any swelling. Any pieces of tooth that you can find should be held in a cup of milk or saliva and taken with you to the dentist in case they are able to reattach them.
If one of your child’s permanent teeth has been knocked out completely, only handle the tooth by the crown (the white part normally visible), rinse it gently, and try to put it back in its socket, having your child bite gently on a clean cloth. If the tooth can’t be replaced, take it with you in a cup of milk, saliva, or sterile saline solution when you visit the dentist.
How Can I Prevent It Happening Again?
Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to stop a child from damaging or losing one of their teeth. However, you can take precautions that may limit their exposure to hard surfaces or injury. Especially while they are young, place barriers around your home that prevent them from reaching high up places they could potentially fall from. If they are an avid sports player, ensure that they have a mouth guard in place while they play so that the teeth are protected in the event that they suffer a blow to the face.