DENTAL ACCIDENTS AND TRAUMA
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the greatest incidence of trauma to the primary teeth occurs at 2 to 3 years of age, when motor coordination is developing. Having an established dental home within six months of the eruption of the first teeth or by age one is the first step towards preparing for possible tooth trauma and setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
There are a few things parents should be aware of that can greatly improve the outcome of a dental injury:
• The first thirty minutes after an accident are the most critical to treatment of dental trauma.
• If a PERMANENT tooth is knocked out, gently rinse, but do not scrub the tooth under water. If tooth appears clean, re-implant into socket to the best of your ability.
• If this is impossible, place the tooth in a glass of milk or a clean wet cloth and contact your dentist immediately.
• If the tooth is fractured, please bring in any pieces you can find.
• DO NOT REIMPLANT PRIMARY (BABY) TEETH, but DO bring them to the dentist if possible.
Please feel free to contact our office in case of emergency:
The following are signs to look for in the weeks and months following dental trauma:
- Color Change: Traumatized teeth may discolor. The discoloration may vary from light gray or yellow or possibly dark grey or brown.
- Abscess: A “gum boil” or bubble may form above the traumatized tooth. Call your dentist immediately if an abscess is spotted. An abscess may look like a blister or swollen area on the gum.
- Swelling: Generalized swelling may occur in the vicinity of the traumatized teeth/tooth and can cause temporary lip or facial disfiguration.
- Mobility: The traumatized teeth/tooth may become very loose even after they have initially tightened after the incident.
- Discomfort: Complaints of discomfort associated with the affected area can occur. A child may not want to use their teeth for biting or chewing and may complain of pain in the area.
- Using a Q-Tip, gently cleanse the wound with warm soap and water.
- Pat the wound dry. Liberally apply Polysporin or Bactroban ointment two times daily: morning and bedtime.
- Have child wear a bandage or non-stick dressing during the day-this will keep the area clean and covered.
- At bedtime apply a thin layer of ointment and leave uncovered.
- If stitches are necessary, follow the above steps as long as the stitches are present.
Please have your child eat a soft diet for the first 5-7 days after the trauma. Hard foods such as apples or raw carrots may further aggravate the area. Children’s pain medicine may be taken every 4-6 hrs or as needed for discomfort. In most cases, we will want to examine your child within 4-12 weeks following the incident. In addition, a follow-up x-ray may be required to help monitor the condition of the areas unable to be seen by the naked eye. Please call our office if any of the changes listed above occur or if you have any additional questions.
For more information on establishing a dental home please visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry at http://www.aapd.org/.