Falls and blows to the mouth are frequent events for toddlers and young children. In fact, nearly 50% of children experience some type of mouth injury during their childhood. In most cases, the child recovers quickly and has no need for medical attention. However, there are some instances where an injury to the mouth or teeth requires the attention of skilled pediatric dentist. Find out more about what symptoms should be seen by a pediatric dentist and how the treatments they use to take care of these little mouths.
Evaluate The Injury
Tooth and mouth injuries are rarely life threatening, however the following symptoms merit taking the child in for an examination by a pediatric dentist:
- A loose, broken or missing tooth after trauma
- Pain in the jaw while opening or closing the mouth
- Tooth pain, tenderness and sensitivity to hot and cold
The type of treatment performed by the dentist will vary with the injury, but here are some examples of what a dentist may do.
Trauma to primary teeth is very common, especially to the two front teeth. The main goal in treating trauma to these teeth is to prevent any future damage to the permanent teeth. In most cases, primary teeth that are knocked loose will heal on their own and a dentist would only take action if the injured tooth interfered with the child's bite. If a primary tooth is broken, a dentist would determine if there has been any nerve or blood vessel damage, then either repair the tooth with a resin material or remove it.
If trauma occurs to permanent teeth, it is especially important to take action quickly. A dislocated permanent tooth needs to be placed back into the socket as soon as possible to have a chance of survival. The ideal time is within 15 minutes of the injury, but you can sometimes wait up to an hour afterwards and still have success.
If the tooth cannot be placed immediately back into the gums, it may be stored in cold milk or a container of the child's saliva, however the longer the tooth is out of the mouth the less likely it will survive. Teeth replaced within 5 minutes of the injury have an 85% survival rate.
Loose or broken permanent teeth may also be successfully repaired by a pediatric dentist, like those at Pediatric Dentistry Of Onalaska LLC. Stitches or splints are a common way to hold a loose tooth in place while it heals. A dentist can repair a broken or fragmented tooth with a composite resin that matches the color of the natural tooth so the injury is no longer visible.