Dental Injury to Teeth: what every parent should know.

October 24th, 2020 Andrew Chang

Dr Andrew Chang chats to Dr Diane Tay about teeth or dental injury in children and teens and what to do This is a podcast for every parent. It is also one which every parent hopes does not happen to their child but should know what to do when it happens. As parents of kids ourselves, we cover topics of teeth trauma in toddlers, children and teenagers.  Questions we cover are: What simple first aid measures can be done? Which types of teeth trauma need to be seen by a dentist soon and which can wait. Other highlights are below:

It is easy to be stressed/anxious when a dental injury occurs. It is sometimes hard to know what to do as dental injury happens suddenly and it can be difficult to assess what is going on in your child's mouth especially if they are distressed too. First thing (overview):
1) Try to stay calm and assess your child. Remove them from any surrounding, potential danger (if present).

2) Check your child is conscious and ensure your child has not sustained any other head or major injuries.

3) Check your child's face and mouth.

4) Control bleeding if present.

5) If comfortable or possible, assess the injuries to the gums or teeth as best as you can.

6) Determine if your child needs to be taken to hospital, local doctor or dentist.

Assuming no other major head or body injuries, here are some important things to check in the mouth:

1) Which teeth are loose, displaced (pushed out of position) or fractured. If the fracture is present, can you locate the fragment-Is this a baby or adult tooth?-Management will depend on the above and how severe the injury is
2) Are there are any laceration/cuts in the gum or mouth

3) Can you child still bite together (check the occlusion)

4) Can you child eat and drink after the accident. What was the last time he/she ate and drank?

5) Has the child been settled?

Some common and more important type injuries are:

1) Avulsions (teeth completely loss)
-If it is a baby tooth, do not put it back. Wash it/keep or otherwise throw it away. This is to reduce risk of damage to developing permanent teeth-If it is an adult tooth, we will need to wash the roots with milk or salt water and replant the tooth into the socket as quickly as possible. See a dentist to splint the tooth.
-Dental injury will often require long term regular follow up with your dentist.

2) Fracture- check for a pink pulp exposure and if so, present to the hospital within 24-48 hours.
3) Luxation injuries (this is where the tooth is pushed inwards, outwards or sideways) will depend on the tooth mobility, degree of displacment and if they are affecting the child eating/drinking.