Staying calm and collected when your child is suffering is often difficult for any mother. As a mom, all you really want is for your little one’s discomforts and pain to go away in a snap.
When your child is dealing with a dental emergency, no matter how hard it is, the best thing you can do is to not panic. Panicking never helps; it can only aggravate the situation because your child will take an emotional cue from you. Instead, be as comforting as you can be to your child as you make arrangements to talk or see the dentist.
Or, you can soothe your child by following the no-panic guide to children’s dental emergencies provided below. The guide covers the common dental emergencies children find themselves in and the effective first aid solutions for them.
1. Bleeding gums, lip, tongue, or inner cheek
This situation can occur anytime and due to a variety of reasons. What makes this more concerning though is kids can easily get worked up by the amount of blood coming out of their mouth because the gums, lips, tongue, and inner cheek have a rich supply of blood.
Bleeding is actually easy to treat. Get the little one to calm down and cover the injury with a big chunk of cotton, just like when dentists control the bleeding from a tooth extraction.
Another strategy to use is to wash your child’s mouth with cold water and to apply cold compress directly on the injury to stop the bleeding and to control swelling. If bleeding doesn’t cease, set up an emergency visit to your family dentist.
2. Broken or dislocated jaw
This is really painful and urgent dental care is needed. What you can do for your child who has a broken or dislocated jaw while waiting for a dentist is to control the swelling using a cold compress and to provide support to the jaw. Use a bandage or a bandanna and tie it around the jaw and head to immobilize it.
3. Chipped tooth
There’s nothing to worry about if there’s no pain but if your child complains of tooth sensitivity and there’s some swelling, the situation needs to be addressed. Use a cold compress. Also, locate the chipped off part of the tooth since the dentist will use it for restoration.
Typically, this dental problem doesn’t require immediate dental attention but do set up an appointment with the dentist for restorative treatment.
4. Displaced tooth
A displaced tooth is a true dental emergency. This often happens to young children who engage in contact sports. When teeth are pushed out of their original position, it’s imperative that they are put back in place and this requires a splint. A dentist is the best person to do the job so make the quick trip to the dental clinic.
The splint will support the jaw and gums and help the tooth heal. After the splint is applied, the dentist will conduct exams to assess the healing. The first exam is usually a week after the splint is placed in. The splint will be removed after two to four weeks. Healing assessment will follow after to six to eight weeks.
While you are waiting for the dentist to treat the displaced tooth, make sure child keeps his or her mouth protected at all times and prevent a lot of movement. Help your little one clean up the bleeding regularly as well.
5. Knocked-out tooth
This requires immediate treatment for restoration. The dentist can handle that part with ease. But what you need to do is to preserve the knocked-out tooth. The best way to do this is by:
– Not touching the root of the tooth because it can get damaged.
– If the tooth is dirty (because it fell on a dusty surface) hold the crown and use milk to rinse it. Don’t wipe the tooth dry – it’s important that the tooth remains moist.
– Once the dirt’s removed, replace the tooth in your child’s mouth – right between the cheek and gums. Try positioning it back into the socket gently. But if it doesn’t fit back into the socket, store the tooth in a small container of milk, saliva, or water until you get to the dentist.
Most people cannot withstand the discomfort of a toothache, so it’s completely understandable if your little one whines about it so much. When you’re your child is suffering from a toothache, make sure that he or she brushes often to control bacteria growth. Rinsing with warm water and salt also helps.
If the pain is due to tooth decay, schedule a trip to the dentist because there may be an infection. An infection always needs to be treated with medicine, which the dentist will prescribe.
Children are prone to dental injuries because of their active lifestyle. As a parent, just brace yourself for them and use all the preventive methods you can think of. If, unfortunately, they still end up sustaining any of the injuries mentioned, use the tips rounded up above to be able to keep the situation under control until a dental professional can take over.
Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.