Being Prepared is Key!
With school back in session, so are after-school sports. Accidents can happen while playing any sport. It is hard to predict whether or not today is the day your child might get hit in the face with a ball. For a parent, seeing a child break or lose a tooth in an accident can be extremely alarming. And of course it can be very traumatic for the child as well. While it is important to be able to prevent dental injuries in the first place, knowing what to do in case an accident occurs can save your child’s teeth as well as reduce the stress of such a situation. It does not always happen, but on the off chance that it does we are here to help you be as prepared as possible.
First, if your child does have a dental injury:
Don’t panic! In case of an accidental tooth injury, try to remain calm. Call us right away, we have a 24/7 Dental Emergency hotline. One of our on-call dentists will pick up to help you. Call 203-324-6171.
Secondly, let’s get you prepared:
As a parent, it is important to make sure that you are prepared before an accident even occurs. An ounce of prevention of course is best. But in the event of an accident, a quick and proper response can make all the difference. We have put together a list of ways to help you become better prepared for all your child’s activities.
5 Ways to Be Better Prepared In Case of a Dental Emergency:
Sec. 1: Preventing Accidents before they occur
1. How to Prevent Dental Injuries:
Watch out for situations that commonly lead to injury. Some of the more common ones are:
- To name a few: Prevent accidents by wearing seat belts, watch out for slippery spots where water drips and for smaller kids- put bumpers on corners of tables.
- Trips and Falls – Most likely to occur when children are first learning to stand using furniture to maintain balance. If you have an infant make sure to child-proof your home before they become mobile, usually around 12 – 16 months.
- Water Fountains – Often kids injure teeth by banging them into the spout of water fountains as they drink. Sometimes kids behind them accidentally bump into them causing them to injure their teeth.
- Drinking From A Glass or Bottle – Paper or plastic cups are much safer, especially in cars.
Always Wear Mouthguards While Playing Sports:
The best way to prevent a dental emergency is to properly protect your child. Dentists are recommending that children engaged in ANY sports should always wear mouthguards. Not only do mouthguards protect you from biting your tongue, they also protect your teeth, lips, gums, and cheeks.
We recommend having extra backups so you will always have some while playing sports. At least one of their mouthguards should be Dentist-made because they are custom made to your child’s mouth. These mouthguards fit more securely against the teeth affording the best protection.
Sec. 2: What to do if there is a dental injury
2. What to do when your child’s tooth is knocked out:
CALL US IMMEDIATELY! The chances for saving the tooth is a very time sensitive event. If the tooth that is knocked out is an adult tooth, the opportunity to replace it and have it last long term goes down after as little as one hour after the accident. If a dentist is seen within one hour after an accident, chances are good that the tooth can be re-implanted and saved.
If it is a baby tooth that is knocked out, place it under your child’s pillow for the tooth fairy. Unfortunately, a baby tooth is not replaceable because it may cause damage to the developing adult tooth. If it is a baby tooth, please still call us to make an appointment so we can make sure that there was no other damages during the accident.
3. Should you rinse the tooth off with water:
NO DO NOT RINSE TOOTH OFF WITH WATER. Instead, if you can, push it back into the socket immediately. To be sure that you have it in correctly, make sure that it matches the adjacent tooth and have the child bite together and be sure the teeth fit together normally. If you cannot get it back in, you must keep it wet. Here are 3 possible solutions we recommend to keep the tooth wet until you see a dentist:
- If possible, use Hank’s Balanced Solution–– a special liquid that simulates natural body fluids and is designed for this emergency. You should ask that the nurses’ office at school as well as sports teams keep a bottle of this solution on hand for emergencies.
- Milk is the next best solution to place the tooth into.
- Or if you do not have access to 1 or 2, actually placing the tooth in your child’s mouth is the next best thing. The saliva in your mouth actually helps to preserve the tooth.
Water is the worst solution and should be avoided, although anything is better than letting the tooth dry out. Then, see a dentist immediately. The sooner the tooth gets put back in the greater the likelihood is that the tooth can be retained.
4. What should you do when your child’s tooth is Broken:
The first thing is to save the broken part of the tooth in case it can be used in the repair of the damaged tooth. Keep it moist as mentioned above. With chipped teeth the situation is more complicated. If your child is experiencing pain or sensitivity in the affected tooth, see a dentist immediately as this indicates that the tooth nerve may be injured. The dentist can perform a root canal or other necessary procedure to save the tooth. Afterwards, a porcelain crown or bonding material can be sculpted onto the tooth to replace the lost portion.
If there is no pain or sensitivity, the situation is not as critical. You should call your dentist to double check, but in most cases, you can simply schedule a future appointment to repair or replace the lost portion of the tooth.
5. My Child’s wires/brackets on their braces broke, do I need to get it fixed?
Professional help is needed to fix or replace broken or loose braces or wires or the teeth may not move correctly. That requires an orthodontic visit. Until then, you can cover the broken or sharp wire or brace with some dental wax or try to remove the loose end of the broken part. Make an appointment as soon as possible, especially if the wire is poking the inside of their mouth.
Not all accidents happen while playing sports. If you have concerns or questions please call us! We have same day appointments available, and a dental emergency hotline available after hours. We understand emergencies can be alarming, so give us a call, we are here for you! 203-324-6171
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