How Parents Can Help Children in Dental Emergencies
- Anastasia Turchetta
- Oct 3, 2013
Every 2 and a half minutes, a child is injured on a playground in the United States. While playground swings are the main culprit, do not count out other activities such as diving into shallow pools, skateboarding, or bicycling.
Simply enjoying some summer fun at home or on vacation can place children at risk for facial or oral trauma. Many parents can be caught off guard and not know what to do when a tooth is fractured, broken, or knocked out.
An estimated 5 million teeth are knocked out each year, so your timing for informing unsuspecting parents couldn't be better! Talk with your patients about the following 3 injuries: knocked out teeth, fractured teeth, and lip or tongue laceration.
When talking with parents, inform them that if a tooth is knocked out, they can try to place it back into its socket. If that is not possible, parents can place the tooth in either milk or that person's own saliva to keep it moist. They should not touch the root of the tooth or try to "brush off" the tooth. The parent should contact a dentist and go immediately. The time frame here is critical for the successful re-implantation of the tooth.
You can suggest to your patients who are parents to look up a dentist in the area where they will be vacationing in the event that dental emergencies happen. This way, they will have a number on hand rather than frantically trying to find one last minute.
Emergencies seem to happen after hours, weekends, or holidays! Another protective option is Save-A-Tooth, a nice addition to any parent's emergency kit!
Fractured or broken teeth are more common as collisions happen with objects or friends. Inform your patients who are parents that they do not need to locate the part of the tooth that has been broken off. If the root and some portion of the tooth are still visible, inform them that dentists can restore it. And again, it may be best to have a dentist’s contact information in their emergency call list at a vacation destination.
You can also inform your patients who are parents that if the tongue has been bit or the lip has been lacerated, they can apply gauze or bandages to control bleeding. Ice or cold compress can also be helpful to reduce swelling. The parent should place pressure if possible; this may be a challenge as most kids are going to be wiggling. If the laceration is deep and bleeding will not stop, seek medical attention.
According to some facts from the Academy of General Dentistry, 60% of all injuries to the brain and face occur with children up to age 4. In addition, 36% of injuries to children are sports related.
Summer is all about doing activities you have waited all year to do or try something new—no matter what age you are! Kids will be kids, and it’s our job to educate parents on what to expect when the unexpected may just happen!
Anastasia challenges dental professionals to continually raise the standard of patient care. She is an author in several dental industry publications and is published as an oral health source for numerous online consumer-based sites. Her weekly video blog on YouTube; Anastasia's Hump Day Happenings answers questions from the general public on oral health topics. She connects with dental professionals on her Facebook page as well. Anastasia is a spokesperson, independent consultant, working with several companies to develop website content, social media presence, continuing education programs and in-office training for dental hygiene departments on product integration with team communication.