In part one of this article series on kids dental traumas we looked at why even small traumas can result in big dental problems.
In this second article, we will now look at what you should do if your child experiences a dental accident, trauma or emergency.
What parents should do if their child snaps, chips, bangs or loses their tooth
The first question we get asked is whether the parent should wait and see what happens or do something straightaway?
We recommend that they do get the tooth checked straightaway. Immediate action could save the tooth or other costly and painful implications from occurring.
If it is a knocked tooth, you want to make sure that the tooth is held in the right position, otherwise a bite on it can cause further damage.
If the tooth has been moved out of position, moving it back into the correct position is really important.
If the tooth is broken and dentine is exposed, then part of the tooth becomes porous and can become abscessed or diseased, so getting to your dentist and getting it sealed or having a temporary filling will reduce this risk.
If the tooth is completely knocked out, put the tooth into milk or, if possible, straight back into the hole in your gum that it came out of, before getting into your dentist’s office.
Following a kids dental emergency, what are things to keep an eye out for?
We recommend you monitor things closely for at least three to six months. In this time period, the tooth can suffer from internal or root resorption – this is where the blood supply has been restricted to the tooth. This can then cause a reaction in the tooth’s nerve and is often painless but still causes the tooth to die or abscess.
Weeks after dental trauma: is your tooth acting normally?
We generally recommend patients return after a week or two after the kids dental emergency to check whether their tooth is acting and responding as it should. We do this using temperature and, sometimes as a precaution, take X-rays to check if there are any changes inside the tooth.
If the tooth does suffer from resorption, then we will not be able to save the nerve and will need to perform an immediate root canal. By removing the nerve tissue that is causing the problem, we can stop the issue from getting worse and save the tooth.
Other techniques to help in dental emergencies
We will often create a ‘Flexible splint’ for the tooth if the patient is close to loosing it. This splint is created by gluing light wire or line to the adjoining teeth. Just like a cast holds broken bones while they recover, these splints hold everything in position and support the traumatised tooth. This maximises the chances of recovery from your kids dental emergency.