Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Spring has arrived and so has the endless weekends spent on a field. Whether it’s baseball, lacrosse or a trip to the park, would you know what do if your child had a dental emergency? Your reaction can make a difference in saving or losing a tooth. You may have to act fast and here are some simple rules to follow:
A permanent tooth knocked out needs IMMEDIATE attention. Most importantly, remain calm. Carefully find the tooth, handle it by the crown only (not the root) and check that it is clean. The crown is the part of tooth that is normally visible in the mouth. If the root is dirty, rinse the tooth very briefly in water or milk, if available. Immediately, place the tooth in the socket making sure the tooth is facing the right way. Ideally, replacement should not be delayed beyond 30 minutes since time is crucial. Apply pressure for 5 minutes to keep the tooth in the socket. If you are unable to replant the tooth, keep it moist by putting it in a cup of milk or placing it in the patient’s mouth next to the cheek. Remember not to scrape or rub the root surface or remove any tissue fragments from the tooth. Do not place the tooth in ice or allow it to dry out. Call our office so Dr. Berman is able to assess the area. A tetanus shot may be needed if the area was dirty or child has not had one. If the tooth is a primary tooth (baby tooth) do not replant it. Schedule an appointment to see if there has been any trauma to the permanent tooth.
If a tooth is pushed out of its original position you should try to see if it can easily be moved back into place. X-rays would have to be taken to determine if the root has been damaged. The tooth may need to be splinted (bonded) to the adjacent teeth to secure it in place.
When a tooth has been chipped or fractured it may be treated in several different ways. A small chip may only need to be smoothed without any other treatment. This procedure is called enameloplasty and simply reshapes and polishes the tooth. A larger area of tooth missing may require dental bonding, a crown or an onlay. If a tooth is fractured and the nerve is exposed, the tooth may be sensitive to air or hot or cold temperatures. This type of injury should be treated within 12 hours to prevent any long term damage.
Any dental emergency will need to be examined to evaluate the treatment needed. Some of these injuries will require cosmetic dentistry to keep you smiling. Most injuries can be prevented by wearing a mouth guard. Sport related dental injuries happen. Remember to remain calm and call the office as soon as possible. We are always here to maintain your smile for a lifetime.