Children play hard. They’re constantly pushing boundaries to learn their limits. Sometimes they get hurt. Knees and elbows get scraped and bones break. You might think that teeth would be resistant to harm, since they’re so strong, but even strong teeth can get injured. Dr. Allie Miller of Pediatric Dentistry of Winter Park in Winter Park, FL has treated many children’s dental injuries and has some advice on how to handle the more common accidents and how to treat them before you can get to the dentist’s office.
How Can Teeth Get Injured?
There are many ways that teeth can be injured — some more severe than others. All dental injuries need to be addressed quickly to preserve the teeth. The most serious injuries like blows to the face or teeth from falls or sports or auto accidents need to be evaluated immediately by a healthcare provider immediately. If your child’s injury is associated with trauma, seek emergency medical attention right away. Most hospitals have oral surgeons on contract to handle severe injuries, like jaw fractures, emergency tooth removal, or reconstruction of damaged dental arches.
For less severe dental injuries without blunt trauma, such as cracks, chips, or teeth getting knocked out, a pediatric or general dentist can be consulted. Chewing or biting down on hard objects, especially things not intended for chewing, can also cause injuries. Children are especially prone to injuries this way as they are often compelled to put objects in their mouths. Teeth are more likely to be injured from biting down if they are already damaged from tooth decay. These situations can usually be addressed at home before your child sees their dentist, but you should request an emergency appointment for them as soon as possible.
What to Do in a Dental Emergency
- If the injury was a result of a fall or an auto or sports accident, or if there was blunt force trauma, seek immediate medical attention in an emergency room or from a health care provider. Do not wait to see your dentist.
- For a cracked tooth, have your child rinse their mouth with warm water to keep the area clean. There may be some swelling, which you can reduce by placing cold compresses on the face. Cracked teeth are very susceptible to bacterial infection, so keeping the area clean is essential.
- For a lost permanent (adult) tooth, keeping the tooth moist at all times will increase the chances of saving it. Gently place it back in the socket without touching the root, or place the tooth in a clean and sealed container of milk. Make an appointment with your child’s dentist immediately.
There may be swelling or bleeding accompanying these injuries. To keep swelling down, apply cold compresses to the face. Over-the-counter painkillers can reduce pain, but you should never apply aspirin directly to the affected area.
Avoiding Dental Injuries
You can prevent dental injuries by taking simple steps to protect yourself and your mouth.
- Children should always wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
- Kids should be advised against chewing on hard foods that can crack teeth and especially items not meant for chewing such as pen caps, erasers, or finger nails.
- Teeth should never be used to rip open packages.
Emergency Dental Care in Winter Park, FL
Most dentists keep openings in their schedules for dental emergencies, so if you need immediate dental care, call your dentist. Dr. Miller sees children of all ages in Winter Park, FL area, so call (407) 434-0267 to get more information on dental first aid or to schedule an appointment.