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Dental Injuries in Youngsters

We all know how nervous we get when we think we may have broken or chipped a tooth, but imagine the anxiety that people go through when they fear that their child may have damaged a tooth and affected the very structure and development of their teeth and gums.

The thing is, however, children will be children, and you cannot wrap them in cotton wool. What you can do, however, is learn about the best ways to deal with a dental injury should this scenario occur.

When it comes to management of dental injuries, circumstances will determine what the best course of action is to take – things such as the age of the child, the kind of injury sustained and the extent of the tooth damage will all come into play, so thorough understanding of what kind of injury has occurred will ultimately impact on your next move and what your dentist decides is best. In all cases if a child has suffered a dental injury, an emergency dentist appointment will most definitely be required.

The seriousness of a child losing a tooth

Many people fail to understand the implications of a young child losing a tooth. In fact, most parents think that it is better for a child to lose a ‘baby’ tooth than it is for them to lose an adult
tooth. In actual fact, though, a child’s ‘baby’ teeth are pivotal when it comes to bone structure and are also vital when it comes to speech and word formation. Milk teeth actually aid the jaw’s development so you should never underestimate the impact a missing tooth can have. If a child knocks a tooth out, you should get them to an emergency dentist so that they can be checked over.

What about a child with adult teeth?

For older children with adult teeth, dental injuries also pose a problem. This is because if an adult tooth is lost and the child is still developing, it could lead to trouble with their bite and cause malocclusion. These problems may then lead to a child needing braces further down the line to correct the problem.

Unlike milk teeth, once an adult tooth is knocked out, there won’t be a replacement tooth waiting to grow in its place, and because of this, it is important that you get your child (and the knocked out tooth) to an emergency dentist as soon as you can, preferably within an hour of the incident occurring.

If you are quick off the mark, even if a tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, a dentist should still be able to help so long as you go immediately. Make sure you keep the tooth in a cup of milk on your way to the dentist, as this will help keep it moist and safe during the journey. Also, be aware not to touch the root structure as this may hamper any effort to save the tooth. A tooth should always be picked up by its crown.

Emergency dentists are not just required for when youngsters knock a tooth out, however, they are also needed when a child has an accident that results in a chipped or fractured tooth. Again, many parents may think that a chipped tooth is not overly important and can wait to be seen at the next routine appointment, but in actual fact, there are many problems that can arise if you sit back
and leave a damaged tooth.

For instance, damaged teeth that are left are more prone to infection and decay, which consequently could result in the tooth having to be removed. This is completely avoidable should you seek an emergency appointment at the dentist. Your child may also suffer with pain and sensitivity if the tooth is left, so ideally an immediate examination is necessary.

As well as damaged and knocked out teeth, many people also query, ‘what else can be defined as a dental emergency or injury?’

Toothache is a problem that can sometimes be deemed as requiring emergency attention. It could be signalling that there is deep decay present in a tooth or teeth and this will need checking out immediately to prevent the situation getting worse. Other instances when an emergency appointment will be required will be if your child has a cut to the mouth that affects the teeth; if your child has had a blow to the head; and if there is any swelling around the mouth or teeth following a collision.

Preventing dental injuries

Accidents will always happen, so you should never beat yourself up if your child suffers from a dental incident that requires emergency treatment. There are some things that may help you protect your child from experiencing such incidents, however – and most of them are common sense. Firstly, if your child is sporty and active and they are regularly falling down and hurting themselves, rather than stopping them from taking part in activities which are important for their physical and social development, you may wish to invest in a mouthguard. Here at Pearl Dental Clinic in London we have a wide range of information relating to mouthguards and advise many people to wear them to protect their teeth and gums from injury. Mouthguards provide vital protection, not only for the teeth, but also the jaw.

Finally, it may sound a little obscure, but if you want to help ensure that your child does not sustain a dental injury that requires emergency treatment, you should make sure that they practise good oral
hygiene. The reason? Poor oral hygiene results in dental decay which consequently means that teeth will be weaker than they should be; so if your child doesn’t look after their teeth as advised, their teeth won’t be able to withstand pressure or blows and this will mean that they get damaged easily or knocked out entirely. With this in mind, you should drill the importance of good oral habits into your child and lead by example. Regular brushing and frequent check ups at the dentist are always advised.