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Tooth trauma in children - don't panic
It is not uncommon for children to injure their teeth. The most important thing a parent can do is to stay calm.
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Tooth trauma in children - don't panic

Posted 2/21/2012   Updated 2/21/2012 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Michelle and Capt. Amber Miller
633rd Dental Squadron

2/21/2012 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third and final piece in a series of articles written in celebration of National Children's Dental Health Month, celebrated each February.

It's a beautiful sunny day and you're at the baseball field routing on your son, when all of a sudden the batter hits a line drive towards your son's face. You run over to see if he's okay as he stand's back up with his front tooth in his hand. You automatically go into panic mode; what do I do?

It is not uncommon for your child to be bumped in the face, or fall down resulting in injury to their front teeth. Being aware of first-aid measures can greatly improve the outcome. Statistics show that 0.5 -16 percent of traumatic injuries result in loss of a permanent tooth. Below are guidelines that one should follow if trauma to the front teeth occurs.

What to do if a primary (baby) tooth is knocked out:

· Do not put tooth back in socket because it may disrupt the developing permanent tooth. Store tooth in milk, saline or water and bring with you to dentist.

· Make appointment with your dentist to decide if additional treatment will be needed. The need for further treatment depends on how old your child is and if the permanent tooth will be coming in soon.

What to do if a permanent (adult) tooth is knocked out:

· Clean the tooth under tap water holding the tooth by the crown, NOT the root; do not scrub the tooth.

· Put the tooth back into socket immediately, (within five minutes) and maintain pressure by biting on a clean napkin or washcloth.

· If the tooth has been severely compromised, do not attempt to replant it.

· Take the child to the dentist immediately; if you wait longer than one hour, the risk of a poor outcome increases greatly.

· If a parent cannot put the tooth back in the socket, put the tooth into a cup of milk, saline or water.

· The tooth can be stored in milk for up to six hours. Use ice around milk container to keep tooth cold.

What to do if a tooth is chipped or hit hard:

· Contact a dentist immediately.

· The dentist will discuss with you if the child should be examined immediately.

· When examining, X-rays will be taken to determine the extent of the injury.

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