Kids’ Mouth and Dental Injuries: Types, Treatments & Prevention

see-dentist-if-questionable-tooth-injuryA mouth or dental injury is quite common in children, especially as they become mobile and start getting involved in sports or other physical activities. These type of injuries should always be taken seriously and be tended to right away, as they could lead to complications and may require immediate professional attention. The most important thing is to remain calm and take the proper precautions to ensure your child gets the right treatment.

It is important to be aware of the different types of injuries that could occur.

I. Common types of injuries include:

  • Soft tissue injury – laceration (cut) to the lip, inner lining of the mouth, tongue or gums
  • Broken, loose or knocked out tooth
  • Fractured jaw

II. Treatment for a mouth or dental injury will depend on the type of injury and the severity.

1. A soft tissue injury may require stitches. If it is bleeding, apply pressure to the area with a gauze pad until you can get medical assistance. These types of injuries are typically taken care of by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if they are severe. Minor injuries like small cuts can be taken care of at home.

2. Care for a tooth injury will also depend on what happened to the tooth and what type of tooth was injured. Taking care of a primary or baby tooth is typically much different than taking care of a permanent tooth.

If a baby tooth is broken or loose, your dentist may keep it in place if it has the capability to heal on its own. However, baby teeth that are too loose or have severe nerve damage most likely will need to be removed. A baby tooth that has been completely knocked out will not need to be replaced, but medical attention should still be sought out.

A permanent tooth that has been injured requires immediate medical attention. If a permanent tooth is broken or knocked out, it can most likely be replaced as long is it is treated within the first fifteen minutes to hour of being injured.

  • If possible, and for best results, rinse off the dislodged tooth quickly in running water but do not scrub or scrape it. Then place into the socket as fully as possible. Have the child bite on gauze or a cloth to keep it in place until reaching the dentist’s office.
  • The second best option is to have a Tooth-Saver kit on hand for such emergencies to drop the tooth into for safe transport to the office along with the patient. They can be purchased online at Amazon.com
  • The third best option is to place the tooth in cold milk to preserve it, then the dentist can place it back into the socket.

Chipped teeth can be easily repaired as well. Attempt to preserve the piece of tooth in cold water, then the dentist will reattach it. If you are unable to preserve it, the tooth can be restored with a composite resin.

3. For more severe wounds such as puncture wounds inside the mouth or a suspected fracture to the jaw or other facial bone, you should seek immediate emergency care for your child.

III. While dental and mouth injuries are often inevitable, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of your child getting hurt:

  • “Baby-proof” the house when your child begins to start crawling and walking. Keep them away from sharp corners and let them walk barefoot or while wearing grip socks to reduce accidents
  • Remind your child not to run with scissors, pencils, toothbrushes, or indoors around furniture that could easily trip them up
  • Encourage your child to wear protective gear when playing sports, including mouth guards and helmets

Finally, never hesitate to contact your dentist or pediatrician in the event of a dental injury. They can provide the proper advice for taking care of your child’s injury and let you know if immediate medical attention is necessary.

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at www.suwaneedental.com. Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

Comments

16 Responses to “Kids’ Mouth and Dental Injuries: Types, Treatments & Prevention”

  1. Tom Shrill says:

    A fracture in the jaw is not a fun problem to have to deal with. This issue, depending on the severity, can even make you need braces again. I would definitely agree, it’s one of the most severe problems.

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      I had no idea you could need braces again. Yikes…painful and costly. Thanks for the heads-up Tom. We appreciate your dropping by 🙂

  2. My son chipped one of his teeth a few minutes ago. I’m trying to figure out what to do, so these tips will help me do the right thing for my son. It’s a relief knowing that his tooth can easily be repaired. We couldn’t find the piece of tooth that chipped away, so it’s good to know that a dentist can restore it using a composite resin. Thanks for the tips!

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Hi Deanna, I can’t even begin to tell you how glad I am that you stopped by. First, let me say I’m really happy that your son is ok. And the fact that we were able to help you find answers when you needed them – well knowing we did that made my day! Thanks so much for telling us!

  3. Jordan Baker says:

    Teeth injuries have to be difficult to deal with. I remember how when I was a kid, I wouldn’t do anything without a mouth guard. It only made sense that I would go the extra mile to improve my teeth. The last thing that I would want to do is to have a chipped tooth. Would you suggest doing if I just had a chipped tooth?

  4. Wendy Cartright says:

    It is very important to take children to the dentist for baby teeth that have been completely knocked out. It may seem pointless because their adult teeth will only grow in afterwards, but as you stated in your article, other complications can come from the premature removal of baby teeth. Any mouth injuries are best taken care of by a professional.

  5. Veronika Dalton says:

    I chipped my tooth when I was a little kid, on a water slide. I remember hitting my chin on the slide and seeing the small chunk of my tooth in the water. I tried to catch it before I got to the pool, but never found it. So it had to get filled with resin.

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      I accidentally pulled out my front tooth when I was a little kid – mom rushed me to the hospital and it was transplanted by a dental surgeon. It lasted about 10 years but eventually had to be replaced by a bridge and eventually by a second one. What a mess! And all because of a dare by my big sister! It wasn’t until my second bridge and alot of hard work by my wonderful dentist before I would smile without putting my hands in front of my face. Wow…if I only had a time machine! Oh…and I can’t let this moment pass without a big thanks to Dr Williams who brought my smile back after all these years! I will be forever grateful!

  6. Jenn says:

    My poor little guy just had to have stitches! Thankfully only 4, 2 of which were inside his mouth, so he shouldn’t have much scarring. I’m just thankful it wasn’t worse. When I was a kid, I had to have 7 stitches after a dog bite. My lip has a large permanent scar.

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      I had similar surgery for a car accident when I was a child – 32 stitches -and even though it was done in “layers”, I still have a scar. Amazing how far surgery for things like this has come. Thanks Jenn for stopping by! Hope you and your son are still able to have a great Halloween 🙂

  7. Silas Knight says:

    Dental injuries are some of the scariest. I fear that my kids will get an injury like this, and I won’t know what to do about it. You have some good tips here though, I will keep all this in mind, thanks!

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Wow Silas, two compliments in one day…you’re going to make us blush! 🙂 Seriously, we appreciate knowing the information was helpful! Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

  8. larissa says:

    Great tips on here! Thanks for all of the information provided, it is definitely conclusive and hit all of the points that I needed! Great for future references!

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Thanks Larissa! We love hearing when we’ve given our readers info they can use! Thanks for stopping by and letting us know! 🙂

  9. Abélia says:

    I agree that it’s useful to know what type of dental injuries can occur and how to take care of them. I think my daughter had a soft tissue injury a few years ago because she got some pretty major stitches in her mouth. It’s good to know that chipped teeth can be easily repaired. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Enjoy the blog. The best prevention for injury in sports is a mouthguard. Unfortunately we get few requests for custom fitted mouthgkuards. A boil and bite from the sporting goods store is better than nothing if worn.

    As far as day to day trauma from falls and objects striking teeth, the best medicine is quick treatment once it occurs.

    all the best,
    Dr. Williams

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