Prevalence and Possible Causes
Are you aware that nearly 50 percent of children will have some type of injury to a tooth during childhood, many of which are preventable? Tooth and mouth injuries most commonly occur after one of the following:
- A fall
- A motor vehicle accident
- Sports injury
Most oral injuries are not life-threatening, and a child rarely develops serious complications. However, trauma to the teeth and mouth can have long-lasting effects on the child’s appearance and self-confidence.
How to Evaluate and When to Seek Medical Attention
Though primary teeth (baby teeth) are fated to fall out at some point, they are vital to a child’s ability to eat and speak properly. Fulmer dentists recommend* that the following precautions are taken before scheduling an appointment in the event of damage to baby teeth:
|Baby Tooth is Loose||Leave it in to heal properly and protect the developing permanent teeth until it is ready to fall out naturally. If a loose tooth requires treatment, a child may bite down on a towel to hold it in place.|
|Baby Tooth is Knocked Out||Don’t panic! If the tooth is knocked out, keep the area clean and do not place the tooth back in yourself! This may cause damage to the developing permanent teeth. Do not touch the root of the tooth or try to clean it.
The little bits of gum tissue that are attached will help with the reimplantation. If debris is on it, gently rinse with tap water. Contact us immediately to discuss next steps.
|Broken Baby Tooth||See your dentist promptly! The dentist will determine if there is damage to nerves or blood vessels.|
Any damage to a permanent tooth should be addressed immediately to help avoid long-term damage to nerves and blood vessels.
|Permanent Tooth is Knocked Out||This is a DENTAL EMERGENCY. In the event that a permanent tooth is knocked out, treatment guidelines recommend that the tooth is professionally placed back into the tooth socket as soon as possible, ideally less than one hour after the trauma.
Do not touch the root of the tooth or try to clean it.
The little bits of gum tissue that are attached will help with the reimplantation. If debris is on it, gently rinse with tap water.
|Permanent Tooth is Broken||See the dentist within 2 days. If the child is experiencing sensitivity to hot or cold, they need to be treated by a healthcare provider immediately.|
If you are uncertain, see the dentist as soon as possible. The sooner the tooth gets treated, the more easily it can be fully repaired.
Treatment varies, depending on the type of injury and whether the injured tooth is a primary or permanent tooth. Some things to keep in mind after treatment are:
- Hygiene and diet — After a tooth or mouth injury, it is important to continue keeping the teeth clean. This includes brushing twice per day with a soft bristled toothbrush. Occasionally, a mouthwash will be prescribed to prevent swelling and infection.
- Prevention – Mouth guards during vigorous activity are recommended to help mitigate the risk of oral injuries.
*As always, check with your dentist for a recommendation for your specific situation. This is not meant to take the place of your care provider’s medical advice.