When it comes to kids’ teeth, accidents happen. If your child takes one in the teeth, here’s some advice for keeping them as together as possible.
Step 1: FREAK OUT. This is not the time for reason. Grab your passports and the stash of gold bars you keep hidden under your floor boards. Put on your Groucho Marx glasses and run directly into traffic. The other shoe has dropped.
Alternatively, make sure they're medically OK. If you have any concerns about their overall health, get them to the emergency room or call their physician. If it looks like the concerns are limited to teeth, call your child’s pediatric dentist. Pediatric Dentists are always “on call” and are specially trained to manage dental trauma in children. This is one of the reasons pediatricians recommend establishing a dental home early. It makes it easier to be seen on an emergent basis.
If a tooth gets knocked out, try to find the tooth. If it is a baby tooth, it’s time yet again to break out the 1993 reissue cassette of Boyz II Men’s masterpiece “Cooleyhighharmony,” because this is the (please sing the next four words in your head as you read this) End of the Road for that particular tooth.
If it is a permanent tooth, pull off any sticks, leaves, or invertebrates stuck to it (but don’t rinse it off in water), then try your best to put it back in the socket. If you are unable to do that immediately place the tooth in milk. Time is of the essence in this situation and your dentist will try to see you as soon as possible.
If a tooth gets moved, try to gently move it back into its normal position. It might warrant immediate treatment from your child’s pediatric dentist. If your child is unable to bite down normally, or if the tooth is very loose, it would be a good idea to see the dentist as soon as possible.
If a tooth gets broken, try to locate the broken fragment and wrap it in a wet paper towel for safe keeping. If you can see the nerve of the tooth (a pink or red dot toward the center of the tooth, which will usually be accompanied by sensitivity) you should see your dentist as soon as possible. For less severe fractures, it may be possible to delay treatment.
Again, the best thing to do is call your child’s pediatric dentist as soon as you can. They will walk you through the next steps and remind you that running into traffic is never the best idea.