Did you know that 60% of children experience some kind of trauma to their front teeth? Mouth injuries and dental trauma are common for children – as they learn to crawl, walk, run, play, and all the amazing things kids do – accidents happen! These injuries can involve the teeth, gums, lips, tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, and jaw. Here’s what contributes to dental trauma and how to treat it for the best outcome.
What Causes Dental Trauma?
As they grow up, kids are exploring their world and learning how to be a person. It only makes sense that accidents can occur and result in trauma, which is why the cause of dental trauma varies so widely. Teeth can be injured due to a fall or they may even fall out because of a sports activity. Even something as seemingly small as grinding the teeth can result in trauma.
Interestingly, the front teeth tend to get the brunt of it, with 60% of children experiencing some form of trauma to these teeth. In most cases, dental trauma is minor, like a chipped tooth. However, it’s always important to see a dentist as soon as possible to examine the tooth. Nearby teeth can suffer additional injuries which may go unnoticed if not reviewed in a dental exam.
Treating Dental Trauma
If your child is experiencing any trauma to the face or teeth, call our office immediately. If we are unavailable and the teeth look out of place or your child can’t bite all the way down, you should go to the emergency room right away. With that said, sometimes mouth injuries can look worse than they are. There are many, many blood vessels in the head and neck area of the body, which means that even a small cut inside the mouth can bleed a lot.
While most injuries to the mouth are minor, more severe issues can occur. If a permanent tooth is knocked out completely, we can sometimes put it back into its socket and heal it. You’ll get the best results when you or a dentist puts the tooth back into the socket within 30 minutes of it falling out. Less favorable results occur after two hours, at which point successful re-implantation is unlikely.
If your child’s permanent tooth is knocked out, rinse the tooth under a gentle flow of water – make sure that you never scrub or touch the root. Then, put the tooth back into the socket by using the neighboring teeth to guide you. When you get to the dentist’s office, they will splint it for you to hold the tooth in place while it heals. If you can’t place the tooth, put it in milk (or water as the next best substitute) and immediately call us. We need to act fast to get the tooth back in place before the two-hour window is over. Look for any broken dental appliance or pieces of tooth and bring them with you, as well. In the office, we will check for any dental appliance or pieces of the tooth that may have been swallowed, inhaled, or gotten stuck in a wound.
Ultimately, treatment varies depending on the type and cause of trauma. Sometimes, monitoring the tooth and eating a diet of soft foods is the best treatment, but a baseline radiograph and photograph will be beneficial as we monitor the tooth for any changes.
To read more about chips, broken teeth, and baby teeth, check out our blog here. Remember, time is key with dental trauma – please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We’re here to help!