Dental Injuries can happen at any season. It just seems like we see more of them as springtime sports and outdoor activities begin each year. Thus, we welcome you to Part 1 of our 3-Part blog series on dental injuries. We hope you, as a parent, can make it through spring and summer without experiencing one of the emergencies detailed in these blogs.
However, these blogs will tell you what to do if your child endures a spring dental injury. And remember, if you follow the mouthguard advice of our previous blog, your child’s chances of evading these dental injuries will be much improved.
Possibly the Most Dreaded of the Dental Injuries: The Knocked-out Tooth
There is no question about it, trauma results from a blow to the face that is hard enough to knock out a tooth. Whether it is the result of a ball hitting the mouth, or the mouth hitting the ground, pain and tears will always be the result. As we have said before, parents are their children’s first responders.
In this case, your response must be quick. When a tooth is knocked out, we put the emergency clock at 5 minutes for you to take action. And this blog tells you the correct steps of action to take. In this case, you want to know the appropriate things that will both comfort your child and save the tooth. So the clock starts now:
Knocked Out Tooth—Begin Treatment Within Five Minutes
First, let us see that the tooth is clean. If it is not, then hold the crown part of the tooth. Rinse the root gently with clean water. However, do not scrape on it or scrub it. You see it will take root again more easily without scrubbing. Now, do not be squeamish about placing the tooth back in the socket. Properly align the tooth, flat side out, and then push it firmly into the socket and hold the tooth in place for 5 minutes.
Primer for Implanting a Knocked Out Tooth
This might actually be easier than it sounds, but let’s break it down one step at a time. You will re-insert the child’s tooth.
- Firmly insert the tooth back into the socket.
- Apply sustained pressure to the tooth for 5 minutes. This will displace the accumulating blood from the socket. Likewise, you are re-setting the tooth in its proper position.
- Then apply gentle pressure for 5 minutes with a wad of wet tissue or gauze on the edge of the tooth to keep it from coming out of the socket.
- All this time, keep in mind you should be speaking calmly to your child, reassuring him or her that you can fix this. And of course, telling him or her about the upcoming trip to the dentist.
The Alternative to Instant Implanting:
However, it’s possible no one at the scene of the injury will try this. In such dental injuries, there might be too much other damage to nearby teeth or the socket itself. Likewise, the injured child might be quite unwilling or unable to cooperate. In these instances you have two choices:
- Position the tooth between the “cheek and teeth (or of the injured person.” This will prevent it from drying while you transport the child and the tooth to the dentist.
- Alternatively, you could “place the tooth in a plastic bag with the injured person’s saliva or in cold milk…”
Additionally, You need to make an appointment to see your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Your child will need a thorough evaluation. Moreover, depending on the extent of the dental injury, your child might require some long-term treatment for permanently setting the tooth.
A Special Note about Tetanus:
How dirty was the scene of the injury? Remember, if the wound was dirty, you might need to go to your doctor’s office to get your child a tetanus shot within 48 hours. Pay special attention to this if your child has not had a tetanus shot within the last 10 years.
Rules Change: In the Case of a Knocked-out Primary Tooth
Now, keep in mind that knocked out baby teeth are treated differently from permanent teeth. Typically we do not advocate replanting them. “Replantation of primary teeth is not recommended by pediatric dentists. The major reasons for not replanting a primary tooth are concerns for the health and normal eruption of the underlying permanent tooth.”
We believe that replanting primary teeth ( also called “baby teeth”) could lead to infection. And infection could hurt the permanent tooth witch lives just beneath the root of the primary tooth, waiting for its destined time to erupt into the mouth. Likewise, replanting could disturb the delicate balance of timing for the eruption of the permanent tooth into the mouth.
Actually, it is more important to retain space occupied by lost primary molars. Those act as guides for erupting permanent teeth. Please call for an appointment at Dentistry for Children or your own dental home, to determine how to best maintain the space the primary tooth occupied. Why? The reason is very logical. Maintaining that space carefully might prevent the expensive orthodontic treatment later in your child’s life, as new teeth erupt crooked or crowded.
Dental Injuries—Today’s Take-Aways
Thank you for reading our blog this week. We hope you will join us next week for part 2 of our special 3 Part series of blogs on dental injuries. Next, we will be investigating dental injuries that need attention within 6 hours of happening. Until then, take care and wear your mouthguard. Happy Spring, and Play Ball!