Accidents happen and are sometimes unavoidable. However, you can minimise the impact of the dental trauma by following these tips.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek
For any injuries that result in bleeding, apply direct pressure to the injured area with a clean cloth or gauze pack to control the bleeding.
However, if bleeding does not stop within about 15 minutes, take your child to the emergency room or your dental surgery, as the injury may require stitches.
To minimise swelling, you can apply ice or a cold compress to your child’s face at the site of the injury.
With any dental injury, always seek professional advice from a dentist, or if a dentist is not available, seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Knocked Out Tooth
If a tooth is knocked out, remain calm and act quickly. The following steps should be taken:
- Carefully find the tooth, handle it by the crown only (not the root) and ensure that it is clean. The crown is the smooth white part of the tooth that is normally visible in the mouth.
- If the root is dirty, and your child is calm and conscious, see if they can gently suck the tooth clean. Alternatively, rinse the tooth in milk or very briefly, in water.
- Immediately replant the tooth in the socket, making sure the tooth is facing the right way around. Time is critical and immediate replacement is best, and ideally should not be delayed more than 30 minutes.
- Hold the tooth in place, gently hold down with ball of gauze or a soft cloth, or the child can bite gently on gauze or a soft cloth.
If you are unable to replant the tooth, keep it moist by putting it in a cup of milk, sealing it in plastic wrap or placing it in the child’s mouth next to the cheek if the child is able to do so.
Points to remember
- Do not hold the tooth by the root surface
- Do not scrape or rub the root surface
- Do not let the tooth dry out
- Do not put the tooth in ice
- Avoid rinsing or storing the tooth in water for more than one or two seconds
- Do not remove any tissue or gum fragments from the tooth
Prevention is the Best Cure
Always ensure your child is fitted with a custom made mouthguard when participating or training in contact sports.
If a child develops toothache, book an appointment with your dentist. If an infection is present this needs to be treated quickly.
For temporary relief:
Have your child rinse their mouth thoroughly with warm salt water (add a teaspoon of table salt to a glass of water)
Use dental floss to gently remove any food or debris that may be lodged between the painful teeth.
Do not use a sharp or pointed instrument in trying to remove any debris as this may damage teeth or injure your child.
Paracetamol may be given to the child for pain until you visit your dentist. Do not place Paracetamol directly on the painful tooth or gum. It should be swallowed for the best remedy.
If there is swelling present, place a cold compress on the outside of your child’s cheek to minimise the swelling.
Broken Braces or Retainers
If you have braces and a broken wire causing pain or irritation, cover the loose end with wax, a small cotton ball, piece of gauze or chewing gum and visit your orthodontist as soon as possible.
If your child’s orthodontic retainer becomes broken or bent and does not fit properly, do not wear it again until it has been repaired or adjusted by your orthodontist.