We’d like to share this important Fact Sheet From Alberta Health Services which outlines how to handle teeth and mouth injuries in children.
See a dentist right away to help manage pain, look for signs of infection, and talk about any treatment your child might need.
Injuries to teeth can include a broken tooth, a cracked tooth, a tooth pushed up into the gums, a tooth knocked out of position, or a tooth knocked out of the mouth.
Injuries to the inside of the mouth, such as cuts, punctures and bites can look like they are bleeding heavily, usually because the blood mixes with saliva. Gently clear away blood so you can see how bad the injury really is. The face may also swell and bruise.
Dental injuries are always unexpected. You can lessen a child’s fear and pain with calm and quick action. Wash your hands before and after giving first aid for teeth and mouth injuries.
Find the pieces of the tooth and bring them with you to the dentist. It will help your dentist check for pieces that may be left in a wound, swallowed, or inhaled.
Knocked Out Tooth
Take your child and the tooth to the dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will check to see if the whole tooth came out and if there are any other injuries.
Don’t try to re-plant a baby tooth because it may damage the developing tooth.
Your dentist may be able to replant an adult tooth. For best results the tooth should be replanted within 30 minutes. Success is limited after 2 hours.
Hold the knocked-out tooth by the enamel only, not the root.
Rinse the root in clean water without touching it.
If you can, try (gently) to put the tooth back in the socket. Have your child close gently on a piece of gauze to hold the tooth in place. Only put the permanent tooth back in the socket after you have rinsed it and if there is no risk of the child swallowing or choking on it. Otherwise, put the permanent tooth in milk or water when you take it to the dentist.
Cuts or Other Injuries to the Mouth
Put pressure on cuts using a clean cloth or gauze moistened with cold water for up to 15 minutes if you can or have your child suck on ice or a popsicle. Don’t give objects to suck on if there is a chance your child could choke.
Choose bland foods while the cut is healing (spicy, salty, or citrus foods might sting).
If your child can, have him or her rinse with warm water after meals to wash away foods that might stick in the healing cut. Most healing takes about 3 to 4 days.
Take your child to the dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, try to have your child rinse out his or her mouth with warm salt water for about 30 seconds then spit. Your child can do this several times.
Treat a swollen cheek with a cold compress. Don’t put heat right on the gum or an aching tooth.
Object Stuck Between Teeth
Gently slide floss between the teeth.
Try to remove the object as you remove the floss. Sometimes it is easier to pull the floss through the teeth, rather than back out from between the teeth. Pull the floss slowly and gently so it doesn’t cut the gums.
Use waxed dental floss as it is less likely to fray.
Reduce Pain and Speed Healing
Use a cold compress or bag of frozen vegetables on the area to control pain and swelling.
Always use a cloth between the ice and the skin.
Apply for up to 15 minutes at a time but no longer.
Ice three times a day for the first day or two.
Your child may take acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol®) for pain as long as he or she isn’t allergic to it and doesn’t have liver disease. Follow the instructions on the package for the correct dose.
Because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, don’t give children under 18 years aspirin or products that have aspirin in them. Don’t put an aspirin on the injury as it can make the injury worse.
Preventing Dental Injuries
Mouth and teeth injuries are common in children. Most injuries to baby teeth happen between 2 and 3 years because children begin to move more and are developing co-ordination. Falls cause the most injuries to children’s permanent teeth, followed by traffic accidents, violence, and sports.
To avoid dental injuries:
- be aware of where furniture is placed when children are learning to walk
- don’t let children run with objects in their mouth
- use safety restraints to prevent collisions and falls
- use toys and activities that are appropriate for your child’s level of co-ordination and movement
- use the right gear for sports: helmets, face protection, and mouth guards
Author: Oral Health, Alberta Health Services
January 8, 2013