Every year there are millions of sports related dental injuries. Many of these will involve children taking part in contact and certain non-contact sports where it is all too easy to sustain a blow to the head or jaw. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.6 million children under the age of 19 will have injuries severe enough to require emergency room treatment, and it is important to know what to do if your child takes a knock to the head.
Deciding on Injury Treatment
The first thing to assess is the seriousness of the injury. Did they take a blow to the head and is there a possibility they may be concussed? Concussion injuries can be serious and it is best to take your child to the nearest emergency room or to contact your pediatrician for advice. You should also take them to the emergency room if they have bleeding that fails to stop after fifteen minutes or so of gentle but firm pressure on the wound.
Dealing with Injured Teeth
Does your child have chipped teeth or broken teeth, or has a tooth been knocked out completely? If they have chipped a tooth then contact our dental office as soon as you can for advice and to make an appointment for treatment. It is very important to get the tooth properly assessed and restored to prevent it from becoming infected and decayed tooth.
Dealing with More Traumatic Dental Injuries
Sometimes teeth can be dislodged or even knocked out. If a primary tooth is dislodged then it can very occasionally be repositioned. If a primary tooth is knocked out then we would not try to re-implant it in the mouth as this could damage the adult tooth which will be developing in the bone underneath.
If your child’s permanent teeth are damaged then we treat them rather differently and will do everything possible to save them. Damaged and immature adult teeth that have recently erupted might require root canal treatment. This is because there will be a strong blood supply to the tooth, and root canal treatment may help stimulate the tooth roots so they continue to grow and develop.
Treatment for an Avulsed or Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
If your child knocks out one of their permanent teeth, then it is important to act quickly and contact our dental office as soon as you can for instructions and advice. Pick up the tooth by its crown, which is the part you can normally see, and rinse off any dirt but don’t scrub the tooth roots and leave any pieces of tissue in place. You can try to re-insert the tooth yourself, making sure it is in the right position. Afterwards get your child to hold it in place with a clean finger and come to our dental office as soon as you can. If you don’t feel able to re-insert it yourself, store the tooth with a little water or saliva, or your child can keep it in their cheek (provided they don’t swallow it!). There is a very small window of approximately half an hour to an hour where avulsed teeth may be re-inserted. This isn’t always successful but we will try this if at all possible.