Tooth Busters 101: Dental Injuries and What to Do

oral trauma

We might have helmets, mouth guards, and padded playgrounds, but our children will still find ways to hurt themselves. When do you “rub some dirt on it,” and when do injuries to the mouth mean it’s time to make an urgent visit to Dr. Duffy?

We understand that accidents happen, and that parents are not always sure what to do. Sometimes it’s OK to wait until Monday; other times you need to get to a dentist or medical doctor right away. Let’s take a look at a few situations so you know what to do in the event of a dental accident.

Oral Trauma

In the event of a non-emergency, do what you can to minimize your child’s discomfort until you can get in to see our team.

Losing a Permanent Tooth

Soccer balls, elbows, baseball bats, and jungle gyms can all knock a tooth out.
Fortunately, we can usually save a tooth that managed to find its way out. You should immediately rinse the tooth with water, ensuring that you don’t touch the roots.

Place the tooth in a container filled with milk, and call our office immediately to get in for urgent dental treatment. For a positive prognosis, it’s imperative to replace the dislodged tooth within an hour.

What to Do With a Broken Tooth
Adventurous boys often play where they shouldn’t, such as Dad’s exercise equipment. One such patient was forging his nine-year-old frame into the next Captain America when he took a weight to the mouth. Ouch. It broke his front tooth in half.

Fear not! A broken tooth can usually be restored with a dental crown that blends perfectly with the patient’s natural smile. Take the loose piece(s) and rinse them with water, storing them in milk as you would for a whole tooth. Call our practice to get in for treatment as soon as possible.

Detached Crown
Children often lose crowns due to sticky candy, but there are many other reasons a crown can come off. The underlying tooth might be decayed, they can break when kids grind their teeth, or the cement can give out.

Don’t attempt to put it back in yourself — Gorilla Glue is great stuff, but now is not the time for it. The remaining tooth structure needs to be evaluated and the crown precisely placed. Clean the crown and then call our dental practice in Flower Mound to get in for treatment.

Cuts and Other Wounds
Many children take hard spills in sports like football, cheerleading, or soccer. For this reason, we recommend mouth guards to protect teeth as much as possible. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, though, and as a parent I can say my stomach churns when I see my kids get hurt. Oral trauma can be painful and sometimes results in bleeding.

Get a look inside to see if there are large cuts (that may need sutures) or anything missing. If everything looks to be where it should and the patient can breathe, apply gauze to the bleeding area. Ice can help reduce pain and swelling, and you have my permission to follow the instructions on the bottle to administer some ibuprofen. If pain, bleeding, and swelling persist, give us a call or seek medical attention.

When to Get Urgent Care

In the event of a more severe dental accident, cases might include dental injuries or otherwise be dentistry-related, but other risk factors will mean you need to immediately seek medical attention.

Losing Consciousness
Anytime someone loses consciousness, they should be medically evaluated immediately. This is particularly true if an impact to the head was involved. If there are dental problems to take care of, we’ll get to those as soon as the patient is safe and cleared of traumatic brain injuries.

Severe Jaw Pain
If the pain occurs when opening and closing the mouth and is the result of trauma, we could be looking at a jaw fracture or dislocation, go to the emergency room — it could result in difficulty breathing or swallowing.

If you’re unsure of the cause of the pain (it just started badly hurting), it could be an infection or the result of muscle or joint problems around the jaw or ear. If the pain is significant, contact the dentist office right away.

Only a Dentist Can Perform Dentistry.

If you’re not sure, call us — better safe than sorry!

Most emergency rooms aren’t going to have a dentist on standby, and only a dentist can provide most dental treatments. However, urgent care facilities may be able to provide immediate pain relief. If there are any dental problems present, call our practice and get in as soon as possible.

If you’re not sure what to do about your particular dental problem, or you’re unsure if it qualifies as an emergency, simply call our pediatric dental practice in Flower Mound and we’ll help you determine the right solution.

If you experience an oral trauma emergency/accident, assess the situation. If it requires immediate medical attention, call 911. If it doesn’t require immediate medical attention, call Dr. Duffy directly to be seen ASAP.

Helping Kids Love Dentistry!
~Dr. Duffy

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