What should I do if my child falls
on his/her face or hits his/her mouth?
Dental traumatisms are one
of the main causes of dental attention
and real dental emergencies.
Although their causes vary,
falls are frequent when babies
are learning how to walk,
they don't coordinate their movements yet,
as well as during the stages when
children learn how to ride a bicycle
activities of greater contact increase.
There are certain factors that predispose dental fractures and facial tissue lacerations. Some of the main ones are:
- Children with protruded incisive teeth and incorrect lip closure that does not protect the teeth at the moment of the hit.
- Convulsive disorders (epilepsy), deafness and blindness.
- Hyperactivity disorders.
Although there are different degrees of traumatisms, if any type of trauma in the head or face occurs, you must visit a dentist to receive the proper examinations and discard more important sequels.
The biggest complications in both milk and permanent teeth occur because of delayed dental attention.
“Save your Tooth” poster, IADT 2008. Click to see full size.
What must parents know?
Enamel and dentin fracture
Laceration of the lip and
Dental abscess after trauma
Relation between primary and permanent incisors
– That a dentist must evaluate every traumatism in the face clinically and/or radiographically in order to discard major injuries in both soft and hard tissues of the mouth.
– That the time between the accident and the visit to the dentist must be as short as possible (two hours maximum).
– That you must transport a broken tooth or fragment in milk.
– That the roots of anterior milk teeth are very close to permanent teeth, so a trauma can affect the permanent tooth forming right below them.
– That "small / insignificant" dental fractures may cause the death of the nerve (pulp) of both milk and permanent teeth.
– That a change in the colour of the teeth is usually a sign of pulp necrosis (nerve death) and should be evaluated by a professional.
– That you must always have the telephone number of the paediatric dentist at hand, because traumatisms are unexpected emergency situations.
Traumatism in the gum and central incisor
Tooth discoloration due to pulp
Our recommendations in case your child has a possible traumatism are:
- Get in touch with your paediatric dentist immediately, no matter what time it is. Time is critical for the prognosis.
- In case a tooth gets fractured or knocked out, always try to recover it and transport it to the dentist in milk. If not available, it can be transported in serum or inside the mouth
- Avulsed primary teeth (that are knocked out completely) are not put back into place to avoid the risk of damaging the permanent tooth.
- Avulsed permanent teeth (that are knocked out completely) must always be handled by the crown (white part) and put back into place immediately. The more time they stay out of the mouth, the worse the prognosis will be.
- All fractured permanent teeth must be treated to avoid long-term injuries of the nerve.
- Your paediatric dentist will tell you the different types of treatment available, according to the type of trauma your child has.
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