You just got it: That dreaded call from the school nurse. Sally fell from the top of the slide. Danny was smacked in the mouth with a baseball. Dylan ran face-first into a glass door. You try not to panic as you grab your keys and head out the door. Who should you call? What will you do when you get there? What if there are missing teeth?
At our Chattanooga pediatric dental office, we are very familiar with childhood accidents. We see them almost every day and we know how upsetting they can be to children and parents alike.
Here are a few tips to get you through the difficult moments leading up to care:
- Call our office right away. Even if you decide to head to the emergency room once you assess the situation, we want to be informed of any and all mouth, face, or head injuries. We keep that information in our records in case of future issues. If the injury seems to be primarily a dental emergency, we will discuss the situation with you and if necessary, get you in to see a doctor right away. If the injury seems minor, we will give you advice on how to deal with the pain and swelling at home. We will schedule an appointment to check everything out when your little one feels better.
- If there has been a head trauma, do not hesitate: Go directly to the emergency room.
- Speak calmly to your child. If there is blood, do not overreact. Head and mouth injuries tend to bleed profusely. It’s common and not necessarily a cause for alarm, and staying calm helps your child stay calm as well.
- Stop bleeding with a cold compress or clean gauze. Light pressure will usually not cause pain and it typically stops bleeding very effectively. If the bleeding does not stop within about fifteen minutes, please take your child to the emergency room.
- If a tooth is knocked out, do not handle it by the root or wash it. Light rinsing is ok if necessary, but preserving vital tissue is crucial. If the tooth does not look damaged, and your child will allow it, place the tooth back in the socket and have your child lightly clamp down on a piece of gauze. If you can’t replace the tooth, put it under your tongue, in a glass of milk, or a container of saliva. It is really important that we see your child right away.
- Do NOT place aspirin on the gums in case of a toothache. This can cause tissue damage. Instead, control your child’s pain with a cold compress and some pain reliever medication. These can help with swelling too.
- If a tooth is missing, talk about what fun a visit from the tooth fairy will be. Even if we are able to replace the knocked out tooth, your kid deserves a reward for bravery!
For more information about what to do in a pediatric dental emergency, please feel free to give our pediatric dental office in Chattanooga a call. We love little smiles, and keeping them safe is our job!