Approximately 30% of all children will experience a dental injury before adulthood. Common injuries include teeth being knocked out, fractured, forced out of position, pushed up, or loosened. Root fractures, dental bone fractures, as well as, injury to the gums, lips, or tongue can also occur. Children are most prone to experience trauma to baby teeth between the age of 18 and 40 months. These injuries are usually the result of falls as the toddler learns to walk. The permanent teeth are usually injured between the ages of 6 and 12 years, when vigorous play and sports activities become more frequent.
While there isn’t much that will stop an uncoordinated toddler from exploring and falling, the older age group can benefit greatly from simple precautions. All children should wear mouthguards when engaged in higher impact sports- football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc. Protective mouthguards help minimize the overall severity of injuries to the mouth. While children are growing and the teeth are transitioning, we recommend the over-the-counter sports guards that are available at most sporting goods stores. These come in a variety of sizes and most children can use these effectively. In some cases, a child cannot tolerate the fit of the over-the-counter guards. If that occurs, we are happy to create a custom sports guard to precisely fit your child’s mouth in the office.
Even if you’ve taken all the precautions possible, injuries still occur. Swift, appropriate action on your part is the most important factor in the overall prognosis. Proper steps to take are as follows:
- If bleeding from the mouth, apply direct pressure to the area with a clean cloth; hold a cold compress wrapped in a towel or cloth to the injured area.
- If a tooth is broken or knocked out, baby or permanent, try to find the tooth or pieces of tooth and try not to handle the root. If it is a PERMANENT tooth, and your child is older and cooperative, attempt to gently place the tooth in the socket. If this is not possible then place the tooth in a moist environment, preferably milk. Never attempt to clean or disinfect the tooth.
Call the office and contact Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan as soon as possible after the injury. The Drs. will assess the extent of injury, talk you through treatment measures you need to employ and determine if you must be seen in the office immediately. Bleeding at the gumline of a tooth, even if the tooth appears unharmed, indicates that the tooth has sustained a traumatic injury. Remember, timing is key; appropriate care within 1-2 hours of injury may save the tooth. Since injuries can occur at any time, our doctors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week!