School is out, the weather is warmer and days are longer! Kids are excited and, hopefully, not bored yet. Moms are eagerly anticipating spending time with the kids or anxiously waiting for school to start again. Most children will be outside playing and exercising frequently.
All of this adds up to greater potential for accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, we can’t protect our kids 24/7, so let’s spend some time talking about what to do if an injury should happen to your child’s mouth.
First and foremost, we recommend mouth guards for any activity that involves contact or potential for a fall. This includes bicycling, roller blading, soccer and trampolines. Even baseball and T-ball have occasional collisions. Mouth guards are especially important for children wearing braces. The best mouth guard is one that is custom made by your dentist. However, over-the-counter mouth guards are less expensive and far better than nothing at all.
If a tooth is knocked out, it is important to act immediately. First, determine if the tooth is a permanent or baby tooth. Permanent teeth have a root as long, or longer, than the crown of the tooth. Baby teeth have short, pointed roots or no roots at all. If the tooth is a permanent one, you can try to put it back into the socket. Gently rinse off any dirt, but do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue from it. Then gently insert the tooth into the socket. Slight pressure is sometimes needed. Take care to line the tooth up with the other teeth. Then immediately call you dentist. If the tooth won’t go back in, keep the tooth moist in a wet paper towel or between the child’s teeth and gums if they are old enough not to swallow it. Then call your family dentist. If the tooth didn’t come out, but is out of position, try and gently but firmly push is back where it belongs, and again, call the dentist.
For broken teeth, have the child rinse with warm water and assess the damage. Chips can be sharp and cause lip or tongue damage. Larger breaks can make the tooth very sensitive. Occasionally, the break can involve the pulp of the tooth. If the broken tooth is sharp, too sensitive to eat with, loose, or if you suspect pulp damage, call the dentist.
Most times, mouth injuries involve cuts, tears or punctures to the tissue. Mouth tissue bleeds profusely. Gently rinse the wound with warm water and then apply pressure to any wound that is still bleeding. Use gauze or a cold wash cloth to apply the pressure if possible. If the area has a large tear or deep cut it may need stitches. It may also need stitches if the bleeding doesn’t stop in 20-30 minutes. In this case, see your dentist or proceed to an urgent care facility.
Most accidents are more emotionally traumatic than physically damaging. But it pays to be prepared, just in case. Have a happy and SAFE summer.
Thanks for reading,