H. E. Henry, DDS, INC. 200 St. Thomas Dr. Weirton, WV 26062
GENERAL DENTISTRY Children and Adults 304.723.7200
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Children’s Dental Health: Common Dental Injuries

If your child prematurely loses a baby tooth, there’s no need to try to replace it. But if a permanent tooth is dislodged, it’s a dental emergency. Permanent teeth have the best chance of survival if replaced within 15 minutes. It’s important to act quickly and follow the guidelines below.

If a baby, toddler, or young child injures the gums or baby teeth:

  1. Apply biting pressure to the area if it is bleeding with a piece of cold, wet gauze. If your child is old enough to follow directions, ask him or her to bite down on the gauze.
  2. Hold an ice-pack wrapped in a washcloth to the cheek to reduce swelling.
  3. Give children’s acetaminophen or children’s ibuprofen as needed for pain.
  4. Call a dentist.
  5. Watch for swelling of the gums, pain, fever, or a change in the color of the tooth.

If a permanent tooth is chipped or broken:

  1. Try to recover all pieces of the broken tooth.
  2. The mouth can be rinsed with warm water.
  3. Call a dentist immediately.
  4. Watch for swelling of the gums, pain, fever, or a change in the color of the tooth.

Seek emergency care if a permanent tooth is knocked out:

  1. Find the tooth. Call a dentist or emergency room right away if you aren’t sure if it’s a permanent tooth (baby teeth have smooth edges).
  2. Handle the tooth by the biting end — not the root.
  3. Place the tooth in a “tooth saver” solution (a commercially available product at pharmacies), or place the tooth in a container of milk or your child’s saliva. You also can place the tooth between the lower lip and gum. Do not store it in tap water.
  4. If the tooth is stored in a container, have your child bite down on a gauze pad or cold wet washcloth to help relieve bleeding and pain.
  5. The dentist can sometimes place the tooth back into the socket and may splint it temporarily to the adjacent teeth to stabilize it.

Resources

  • Division of Oral Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health
  • American Dental Association, Mouth Healthy
  • HealthymouthsHealthylives.org
  • The Nemours Foundation
  • Colgate-Palmolive Oral Care, Life Stages