Unfortunately, dental accidents don’t take a summer vacation. In fact, your kids will probably be more susceptible to an injury due to more time spent playing outdoors. Did anyone say “baseball?”
We know that that last thing you want to deal with this summer is a traumatic mouth injury, especially if you’re on vacation (and far away from our office). In this video produced by the American Dental Association, you and your kids can learn everything you need to know on what to do if a tooth gets knocked out.
It’s estimated that almost 50% of children will have some type of injury to a tooth during childhood. The good news is that the majority of these injuries are not life threatening! However, if not properly taken care of, rare complications can arise.
Treatments for injuries to the mouth vary depending on the severity of the incident. If anything like this happens to you or your children this summer, just remember to not panic, and to follow the steps below to maximize your odds of saving a knocked-out tooth.
Is that blood?
Whether it’s a rouge Frisbee or a ball from a pop fly that ended up being caught by your little slugger’s mouth, you might notice a lot of blood that makes it hard to assess the situation.
First, don’t panic. We know that blood can be scary, but it’s important to get bleeding under control while also locating the site of the injury and finding the knocked-out tooth.
Use gauze or, if you are out and don’t have any, another clean material to apply pressure to the wound. And be sure to have the injured child or family member sit up and tilt his or her head forward with the chin down. This will help any blood drain out of the mouth (not down the back of the throat).
What to do with the tooth
If you are able to locate the knocked-out tooth, handle it carefully and don’t touch the root. If the tooth has fallen on the ground and is visibly dirty, gently rinse it in milk and, if that isn’t available, use water. Don’t use a rag or shirt to clean it, as that can damage the tooth even more.
If possible, try slipping the clean tooth back into the socket, but don’t force it. That could cause more trauma to the area. If it will not go back into the socket, it’s important that it be kept moist. Then could be done by keeping it between the cheek and gum or in a glass of milk.
Call your dentist right away
The odds of saving a tooth are highest in young children, but adult teeth can be saved as well. Only permanent teeth should be re-implanted, and ideally be done within one hour of the accident.
It’s important to get to the dentist as quickly as possible after a tooth has been knocked out. It’s also important to avoid damaging the tooth even more on your way to the office. If the tooth can be re-implanted (and there was no more damage done to the surrounding gum or bone), the tooth’s root will normally reattach back to the bone in three to four weeks. It’s important to follow up with your dentist to ensure that the tooth is healing properly and that you don’t have any underlying infections or more complex issues as a consequence.
Whatever you do, don’t let a dental accident ruin your summer! Remember to be prepared, not to panic, and to call your dentist as soon as possible. And badda bing, summer saved! All with a healthy smile to remember it by.