Statistics reveal that about 25 per cent of all children will sustain damage to their permanent teeth by the age of 14. Children with prominent “buck” teeth are more at risk of injuries and as you might guess boys are twice as likely to injure their teeth compared with girls.
Custom-made mouthguards are a huge help in limiting contact sport teeth trauma however children need to wear their mouthguards also during training because even friends can accidentally knock teeth out! The other main cause of tooth injuries is non-contact, casual, leisure activities such as skateboarding, surfing, skating, swimming and bike-riding.
If a tooth is chipped or cracked try to find the tooth fragments and take them with you to the dentist as soon as possible. I once had a mum who correctly searched under the couch for her child’s missing tooth fragments however brought me more tooth fragments than were missing to complete the tooth jigsaw puzzle.. I quickly identified these as the family dog’s baby teeth that had recently fallen out!
Permanent teeth that have been knocked out can be saved however it is essential to act quickly. Baby “deciduous” teeth are not re-implanted only permanent “adult” teeth. If you are not sure bring the tooth with you to the dentist for identification.
Remember to search around the scene of the accident as teeth can be thrown a surprising distance. Also, check the person’s clothing for missing teeth. Remain calm as the injury often looks worse than it actually is.
Locate the tooth and handle it by the crown not the pointed root part of the tooth. The crown part will look whiter than the yellow root of the tooth.
If the tooth is dirty rinse it in milk then gently push the tooth back into the socket (it will click back into place if done quickly) making sure it is facing the correct way around (look at the adjacent tooth to help you). Ask the patient to gently bite on a facewasher or gauze pack to keep the tooth in place. If the tooth can’t be reimplanted place it in milk and get to your dentist immediately (within 1 hour is critical) If milk is unavailable use saline (for contact lenses or often found in first aid kits)
Prevention as always is the preferred way to go, so as we say with Sunsmart campaigns: “no hat no play” Consider also “no mouthguard no play”.
Smile by Design