One of the greatest joys for young children is imagination-packed, unencumbered playtime. Moving around, getting exercise, and engaging in creative activities is crucial for child development. Of course, it is not without the risk of bumps, bruises, scrapes, and even damaged or missing teeth! Just one misstep can cause a tumble, fall, and even a tooth trauma. So to keep your little one as safe and healthy as possible after anything from a chipped baby tooth to a knocked out adult tooth, here are a few things to know about mouth injury medical care.
Assessing the Injuries
As soon as you console your little one, it is crucial to assess the severity of the injury that has occurred to your child’s chipped tooth and the surrounding areas. Even if it seems minor, the damage could be worse than it appears. So, be sure to contact your dentist and pediatrician as soon as possible for a professional opinion on even a small injury. If your child experiences a sizable trauma to their teeth, go to an emergency room or an emergency dentist immediately. In the meantime, be sure to stop the bleeding with sanitary first aid materials like a wet gauze pad.
Keep It Clean
The mouth is absolutely crucial for a child’s nourishment and communication. Keeping the wound clean is essential to helping the injury heal as quickly as possible and avoiding additional damage or infection so your little one can get back to using their smile in all of its glory. A saltwater rinse and icing can keep the area cleaner by reducing bleeding, swelling, and bacterial growth. Continue to brush with a soft toothbrush while being careful not to create further damage. A medical professional might also prescribe a special mouthwash to help prevent infection and additional swelling. Be sure that any methods you use are safe and appropriate for your child’s age. If you are not certain, always ask a pediatrician for advice.
Managing the Pain
Injuries mean ouchies! A cold compress can be an effective way to reduce swelling and make your child more comfortable. If your child is experiencing pain from their injury, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever for children with a dosage according to weight and age. If you are not sure, always contact your pediatrician for the appropriate dosage. As time goes on, keep an eye on how your child’s pain develops. If it spreads or worsens, this can be a sign that your child is having trouble healing from their injuries and there might be something else going on. Check in with a doctor or dentist to better understand the cause of the pain and how to treat it appropriately.
Changing Up Their Diet
After a child’s chipped tooth or other tooth trauma occurs, they might find it difficult to chew due to pain, swelling, or missing teeth. It could take some time to let the wound heal and for your child to adjust to the changes in their mouth. Until you visit a dentist for a professional assessment, do not feed your child any hard foods as this could cause additional damage. Soft diets are a good option to make eating easier and safer for your child. If a child’s chipped tooth is severe, it is possible that a nerve is exposed. This can cause an intense sensitivity to food, temperature, and other stimuli. As your child heals, be sure to monitor their chewing and ensure that their condition is not getting worse and that they are able to swallow properly.
Avoiding an Infection
Tooth trauma and wounds put children at risk of infection. Let your pediatrician know what happened so they can assist you in proper wound care, treatment, and watching carefully for any additional symptoms that might signal a deeper problem. Without proper treatment, your child could develop a tooth abscess, or a bacterial infection. Keep an eye out for the indicative symptoms such as fever, difficulty eating, additional swelling or bleeding, spreading pain, and trouble sleeping. Contact a doctor as soon as possible if your child exhibits these, or other concerning symptoms. It is essential to take the best possible care of your child’s injuries as soon as possible to avoid the dangers of a worsening or spreading infection.
Seeking Medical Attention
Each injury can be very unique. Proper care depends on how severe the injury is, whether the damage occurred to a baby or adult tooth, and whether it was just chipped or if your child has an adult or baby tooth knocked out altogether. If your child is experiencing intense pain, sensitivity, excessive bleeding, difficulty swallowing or breathing, numbness, blurred vision, changes in speech, a large wound, or signs of infection — seek medical attention as soon as possible. If it appears to be a minor injury, seeking help, even if you wait until your dentist or pediatrician’s business hours, can be crucial to helping your child heal. Even a slight trauma can cause nerve damage, death of a tooth down the line, or improper growth of adult teeth and result in long term effects.
At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, we know that playtime should be a chance for your child to explore the world. While it can sometimes be dangerous when children fall, it is important to know that this is a natural part of development. It is very common for playtime to cause a child’s chipped tooth or even get a baby tooth knocked out. Parents can keep their little one safe and healthy even after an injury by calling their dentist and pediatrician for an assessment. To make an appointment with one of our passionate Coastal Kids pediatricians, visit us at www.coastalkids.com. We can’t wait to get your child smiling again!