Sports injuries and accidents take their toll on parents’ peace of mind and the dental health of our kids. The good news is that modern pediatric dentistry can salvage that chipped or broken tooth. Our dentists can quickly diagnose how damaged the tooth is, whether it can be saved, and the best way to restore your child’s smile.
First Aid Before Visiting the Dentist
If the child’s tooth is knocked out
According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), over five million teeth are knocked out of the mouths of children and adults every year. When this happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the tooth is lost for good.
If circumstances permit, you can take emergency action to save the tooth by replanting it within 30 minutes and heading for the nearest dentist or endodontist.
Here are five steps recommended by the AAE that you can take before going to the dentist:
1. Locate the tooth and pick it up by the chewing service—not the root.
2. Gently rinse the tooth with water only. Don’t scrub it or dry it, and don’t wrap it in cloth or tissue.
3. Place the tooth in its socket immediately by gently pushing it in with your fingers. When positioned, instruct the child to bite down gently.
4. Keep the tooth moist in the mouth. If you cannot replace it in the socket, immerse it in milk or an emergency tooth perseveration kit such as Save-a-Tooth®. Do not soak the tooth in tap water.
5. Get to a dentist within 30 minutes. That is the optimum delay, but it is possible to save a tooth that has been preserved for an hour or more.
If the injury is a chipped or broken tooth
A chipped or broken tooth is not usually a medical emergency. You can make an appointment with our dentists and take some immediate measures before arriving. If you can recover the fragment of the broken tooth, place it in a glass of milk. This preserves the calcium in the fragment. Alternatively, if you can make a same-day emergency appointment, instruct your child to tuck the tooth fragment inside the gum.
In a non-emergency case of a chipped or broken tooth, before going to the dentist, do the following:
- Allow the child to eat only soft foods. Remind the child not to bite down on the damaged tooth.
- Manage any pain and sensitivity by administering the recommended child’s dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Reduce infection risk by rinsing the broken tooth with saltwater.
- Have the child floss immediately after eating to remove food particles between the teeth and reduce the pressure on the damaged tooth.
- If the broken tooth has a jagged edge, place wax paraffin or a piece of sugarless chewing gum over it to protect the inner cheek and gum area.
Call Your Dentist at Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
Drs. Lindsay Maples and Derek Hoffman and their pediatric dentistry and orthodontics staff specialize in full-service dental care for your children. Depending on the amount of damage to the tooth, our treatment options can include the following:
- Reattach the tooth fragment. If you have been successful in preserving the child’s tooth fragment, we may be able to reattach it through bonding.
- Bond a plastic resin to the broken tooth to repair the chip. The dentist uses ultraviolet light to harden and dry the bonded material and shapes it until the material exactly fits the tooth.
- Insert a dental onlay if the chip is minor. However, the dentist may opt to fit a crown if the tooth is heavily damaged.
- Attach a veneer for larger dental fractures or injuries that go deep into the pulp chamber of the tooth. This is often the best option for damaged front teeth that cannot be repaired through bonding or composite resin.
- Do a root canal if the break exposes the tooth pulp. This may be required to prevent infection prior to final restoration of the tooth to its original appearance.
After suffering the pain and trauma of a chipped or broken tooth, your child needs to feel safe and comfortable. At Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we focus on family dentistry with top quality and caring dental care for your children. Contact us or call us at 904-373-5120.