Lets talk a little bit about children.Those of us with small children often fear injury on our little precious ones.And it is immensely stressful when they fall and hurt themselves,especially when the injury is on their faces(including their mouth and teeth).

 I saw an 11 year-old child recently,who had a fall and broke her 2 front permanent teeth.I felt for her mother as she told me about how freaked out she was when she saw her daughter’s condition.The little girl was in pain,but was very brave about it. Anyway,she had her teeth restored and now we are waiting to see whether the pulp of the teeth recovers.I will be seeing her next week to review her condition.

That’s her restored teeth,note the swelling on her lower lip.The tooth on the left was severed up to almost a third of its original,something like this:

 and the one on the right had a diagonal fracture.I would have taken a “before” picture,but the child was quite distressed when she came in,so I did the “after” instead and she was a picture of happiness after that!

Here are some tips,to be more informed whenever you encounter a child with tooth injury.

Types of Tooth Injuries:

• Loosened tooth – may bleed a little from the gums

• Displaced tooth (usually pushed inward)

• Chipped or fractured tooth

• Avulsed (knocked out) tooth — a dental emergency for permanent teeth

When to Call Your Doctor for Tooth Injury

Call Your Doctor or Dentist NOW if:

• You think your child has a serious injury

• Permanent tooth knocked out (Reason: needs reimplantation ASAP; 2 hours is the deadline for tooth survival). First Aid Advice: Transport the tooth in some milk or saliva (milk is best). If over 30 minutes away, try to replace the tooth in the socket before coming in

 • Permanent tooth is almost falling out

• Bleeding won’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure

• Tooth is greatly pushed out of its normal position

• Tooth that’s pushed out of its normal position interferes with normal bite

 • Severe pain

Call Your Doctor or Dentist Within 24 Hours if:

• Baby tooth knocked out by injury. (Reason: can’t be reimplanted but dentist will check for damage to permanent tooth)

• Tooth is slightly pushed out of its normal position

• Can see a chip or fracture line in the tooth

• Tooth sensitive to cold fluids

• Tooth feels very loose when you try to move it

Home Care (Read “Call Your Doctor…” first):

Local Cold

For pain, apply a piece of ice to the injured gum area for 20 minutes.

Pain Medicine

If it still hurts, give acetaminophen (e.g. Panadol) .

 Soft Diet

For any loose teeth, offer a soft diet for 3 days. By then, it should be tightened up.