A loud thud from another room, followed by a distressed cry – accidents always make a parent’s heart skip a beat.
In many cases, everyday injuries of early childhood involve the teeth. Up to one in five young children sustain a dental injury, most often at home and during a normal daily routine.
‘It’s often a moment of immediate stress and anxiety,’ said Dr Rod Jennings of Toothbuds Paediatric Dentistry. ‘Even minor injuries to the mouth often involve bleeding, swelling and tears – try to keep calm and take the time to give pain relief, tidy up and take stock.’
‘If there is swelling, consider applying an ice pack to the face or giving an icey pole to suck on – this can limit swelling and reduce pain. If there is bleeding, try to gently identify the source. If the bleeding is from from the lip or gum, try applying gentle pressure with a wet gauze or handkerchief if tolerable.’
‘Where the teeth have sustained an impact, they may be chipped or loosened – seeking professional help is the best way forward. In the interim, chipped teeth can be very sensitive – so avoid touching the chipped surface if possible. Where a tooth has been loosened or knocked out of position, even the minimal pressure of biting the teeth together can be painful. If your child needs to eat while awaiting professional help, try liquids through a straw or soft food that can be chewed with the back teeth.’
And if a tooth is knocked out of the mouth? ‘Store it submerged in milk, and seek professional help as soon as possible. Replanting a tooth that has been knocked out is not recommended, and could end up doing more damage!’
Many families struggle to find immediate help from a child-friendly dentist experienced managing dental injuries. ‘Consider looking for a Specialist Paediatric Dentist to help,’ said Dr Jennings. ‘Even seemingly minor injuries can have long-term consequences, including a risk of infection or damage to the adult teeth. Don’t risk it, make sure you follow up with experienced child-focused dental care.’
Need help with a dental injury? Contact Toothbuds Paediatric Dentistry on 6155 9899.