What to do if Your Child Breaks a Tooth
It happened in the fraction of an instant. One minute, my kid was playing ‘Star Wars Jedi Training’ with her best friend and two lightsabers. The next minute, she was on the ground, holding her mouth. There was A LOT of blood and it was hard to see what was going on in there.
So if this happens to you, what should you do?
First off, don’t panic.
There’s nothing more stressful for a child than to see their parent having an epic meltdown. Particularly since kids see themselves as the centres of their universes, they will see your panic as being their fault. Fault is NOT a useful concept in these moments.
Instead, calmly rinse out your child’s mouth with water and see if you can detect any damage. Like what? They could have bitten their lip, cheek, or tongue; they could have knocked out a tooth or broken one.
Secondly, call the dentist.
If they have emergency hours or emergency procedures, they will be able to inform you of your next best step. The dentist will need to examine the area to see if there is more damage than you can see or are aware of. Getting it seen to right away might also save you some more expensive work down the road.
Other things to do:
- Rinse out your child’s mouth with water.
- Put a cold compress on your child’s face to minimize swelling.
- If you have clean gauze, put it on the area that is bleeding, if it is still bleeding and apply some pressure.
- If possible, find the tooth fragment or whole tooth, if you see that one is broken / missing.
What happens with a chipped or broken tooth
It will come down to the size of the chip or location of the break / crack. If it’s a small chip, your dentist may opt simply to smooth down a sharp edge and leave it alone, particularly if it is a baby tooth.
In the case of a permanent tooth or a more severe chip, break, or crack other options include dental bonding or veneers. A major crack will likely cause some pain and if it extends to the pulp of the tooth, where the nerves are located, your child will be sensitive to cold and hot liquids and food. This might require filling the crack / broken area or even a crown.
It’s possible for your child to knock a tooth into the gum without noticing or fussing about it and you may only notice some weeks later because the tooth is turning a dark colour. That means that the root has effectively died from lack of blood supply. Check in with your dentist about this as soon as you notice it.
What happens with a knocked out baby tooth
Even if you have it, it’s unlikely that the tooth will be re-planted. Instead, the area will be examined for other injuries to the gum, mouth, etc. and it will be a question of waiting for the permanent tooth to come through, eventually.
What happens with a knocked out permanent tooth
Unfortunately, we’re not sharks: we don’t shed and regrow teeth! That said, a permanent tooth can sometimes be re-implanted, if it’s done quickly (one or two hours after being knocked out). Simply place the tooth in a clean container with some milk and take it in to the dentist. Re-implantation is not always possible depending on the damage to the tooth but it’s worth investigating. If it‘s not possible, your dentist can discuss other options with you.
If you do find yourself involved in an unfortunate dental accident this summer and need emergency dental treatment, keep Orion Dental in mind. We have extended and weekend hours at both of our Milton and Scarborough offices and gladly welcome same-day emergency patients.