Sports are a great way for your child to make friends, exercise, and experience healthy competition. However, sports come with an inherent amount of risk, so it's important to be prepared for injuries that may come your child's way. For instance, displaced teeth are quite common; Moms Team says that sports like football, hockey, martial arts, boxing, and basketball are the activities that have the most dental injuries. Here are some tips on how to act during and after your child knocks out a tooth.
Have an Emergency Dentist in Your Phone's Contacts
Even though many emergency dental services have same-day appointments and can see your child right away, it's important to have their number on hand and call them ahead of time. On your way to the dentist's office, call to let them know about the situation. This helps the staff prepare for your child's specific problem. The office may have you send a picture with your phone so they can get a quick glance at the damage. The staff may also give you further instructions on how to help your child if he or she in pain. If your child has severe mouth pain and bleeding, the emergency dentist can let you know if you need to head straight to the emergency room first before coming to their office to fix a tooth.
Save the Tooth if You Can
Believe it or not, if you act fast, you may be able to reinsert your child's tooth. If the tooth was knocked out on the playing field and is dirty, carefully pick it up by the crown and let the tooth roots hang. Find a first aid kit with some saline and rinse the tooth carefully. You don't want to pick at grime on a tooth or scrub it since that can damage it.
Calm your child if you can, and try to put the tooth back into the spot where it was knocked out. Reinserting the tooth shouldn't hurt your child since the site is likely still numb after the trauma. However, if your child is inconsolable or in pain, or the tooth won't go back in correctly or is too damaged, you can still save it.
Run by the store and pour some milk into a cup or a container, then put the tooth and its roots in it. Milk has a good pHand proteins which protect the tooth's integrity. If you don't have time to pick up milk, have your child spit into a cup and put the tooth in the spit. Like milk, the saliva has a good pH that will protect the tooth, as well as keeping the root from drying out. Your emergency dentist can reinsert the tooth, but you have to get to the dentist's office as soon as you can to make that possible.
Even though your child may require a root canal and filling to fix the damaged root and its blood vessels and nerves, the original tooth can reconnect itself to jawbone and heal completely.
Ask the Dentist About a Customized Mouth Guard
While your child may be required to wear a mouth guard for his or her sport, some club sports are lax about this protection. However, it's important for your child to protect him or herself from further injury. In fact, Colgate says that mouth guards can reduce the chances of dental injuries by up to 60 times!
The main problem is that many children don't like mouth guards because they are awkward and make it hard to talk or even breathe. If your child doesn't like wearing one, ask your dentist about a customized guard. The problem with boil-and-bite guards is that they are made from a stock-injected mold, so even if you boil them to mold them to your child's mouth, they won't ever really fit snugly or comfortably. If your child wears a customized guard, he or she will be less likely to take it out and risk more dental injuries.