Dental injuries often occur due to sports related injuries, a fall or a fight. Chipped teeth are the most common of dental injuries. Treatment depends on the type, location and severity of the injury. Dental injuries will require assessment by a dentist. In most cases dental injuries are not life threatening and complications are rare.
Your child may need to seek medical help by a dentist or the emergency department if they have:
- Pain and tenderness in a tooth.
- A broken, loose or missing tooth after an accident.
- Bleeding that does not stop.
- Pain in the jaw when opening or closing the mouth.
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing.
- A fever or signs of infection post a dental injury.
Treatments for primary and permanent teeth
Most people have two sets of teeth during their life: a set of primary or “baby” teeth and the permanent or “adult” teeth.
Dislocated or loose primary teeth
Treatment for this focuses on preventing future damage. In most cases a loose tooth will heal without treatment. If your child has lost a primary tooth, it should not be placed back into the gums as this may increase the risk of infection.
Broken primary tooth
If your child has broken a tooth they will need to see their dentist. They will be able to determine whether the tooth’s blood vessels or nerves have been damaged.
Dislocated permanent tooth
If your child has a permanent tooth knocked out they will require prompt treatment, the tooth needs to be placed back into position as soon as possible.
If this happens, handle the tooth gently and clean it of any dirt. Place the tooth by hand back into its socket. Keep the tooth in place by having the child bite down on a towel. See a dentist as soon as possible.
If you cannot replace the tooth in the gums then store the tooth in milk.
Loose permanent tooth
This also requires prompt treatment. A dentist is the best person to evaluate and treat a child with a loose permanent tooth.
Broken permanent tooth
This type of dental injury can usually be repaired. Your child should see a dentist within a few days of the injury for treatment. Tooth fragments should be saved, if possible, in tap water as sometimes they can be reattached.