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Dental Emergencies: Knowing what to do can lessen the trauma

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Once I became a pediatric dentist, I started seeing an increasing number of children coming to the office for emergencies following an accident or trauma to a child’s teeth and/or mouth.  Below you will find several key tips to help guide you on what to do next, should you find you, or your child facing one of these emergency situations.

I believe that educating children and parents on how to handle some of the most common dental emergencies, both for baby teeth and adult teeth, is extremely important. But remember, when in doubt, please visit your closest dentist. 

Baby teeth

Avulsion aka “knocking the tooth out” - The dentist generally does not reinsert the baby tooth with this injury. Attempting to put the tooth back in its place could cause damage to the developing adult tooth, which may have already begun forming under the baby tooth. 

Fracture or chip in the tooth - With this injury, if it is a minor chip, usually a dentist can build the tooth with a filling material to make it more aesthetically pleasing. If the chip or fracture is severe or close to the nerve inside the tooth, further treatment is often needed. 

Intrusion/luxation - The tooth is moved (but not entirely) out of place with this injury. It can be pushed inward, forward, or backward inside the socket. Usually, with this injury, the tooth will likely either re-erupt or re-align on its own. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may need further treatment.

Adult teeth

Avulsion aka “knocking the tooth out” - Time is of the essence with this injury. Seek out a dentist as soon as possible. The sooner an adult tooth is put back in place, the better the prognosis the tooth may have. If this happens, try to rinse off the tooth without handling the root part of the tooth. Do not scrub the tooth or use any chemicals to clean it. If possible, try to reinsert the tooth back into the socket. If not, store the tooth in a cup of milk, a “Save-A-Tooth” solution, or hold it in the mouth by the cheek. 

Fracture or chip of the tooth - If a significant portion of the tooth chips off, try to locate the piece, as the chipped part of the tooth can be re-bonded back to the tooth. If you cannot find the piece, the dentist can re-build the tooth using filling material that matches the shade of the tooth. The more severe or closer to the nerve the is located, further treatment may be necessary. 

Intrusion/luxation - With this injury, depending on the severity of how far the tooth was moved out of alignment, the tooth may likely need to be re-positioned back into its proper place. 

These are some of the most common injuries that may occur. If you or your child experiences any injuries, seek advice from a doctor or dentist! 

If you have any questions about these emergencies, or any other pediatric dentistry issue, don't hesitate to reach out to Dr. Alma. She's a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist at Baptiste Dentistry for Kids in Apopka, and she's always glad to help. 

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