Pediatric Dental Trauma
One of the most frightening experiences as a parent is an injury to your child. Kids are full of energy which makes them more prone to accidents. The literature states that 25% of all school aged children experience dental trauma. Slips, trips, and falls are inevitable which is why Drs. Valleau, VanDeven, and Massie are always available to help you through these scary situations. When your child has a dental emergency, you want to be sure a pediatric dentist with skill and experience handles the situation quickly. Our doctors are reachable by phone even after hours because this is what we would want for our kids!
When to Call 911
If your child has experienced a serious injury, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency department. Signs of serious injury include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blurred vision or slurred speech
- Bleeding that will not stop with pressure
Sometimes it is tough to know when to call our office, here are some basic guidelines to help you decide when to call us:
- If tooth pain is present
- If the jaw is locked open or closed
- If there are wounds in or around the mouth
- If a tooth appears cracked, out of position, or otherwise compromised
- If a permanent tooth comes completely out of the mouth
When in doubt, you can always call and we will help you determine the best course of action.
We know that many of our patients are athletes and we encourage physical activity, competitiveness, and the love of the game. However, Drs. Valleau, VanDeven, and Massie recognize the prevalence of sports-related orofacial injuries in our community’s youth and the need for prevention. Helmets, facemasks, and mouthguards have all been shown to both reduce the frequency and severity of dental and orofacial trauma. Our office will gladly custom fit a mouthguard for your child once all of the permanent teeth are erupted. In the case of a younger child, typically a boil-and-bite mouthguard (found at your local sporting goods store) is the most economical as teeth change quickly and so will the need for a new mouthguard.
What to Do When a Tooth is Lost
If a tooth is lost due to injury and can be located, the first step is to determine whether the tooth is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. If the lost tooth is permanent, the ideal situation would be to rinse it with spit, place it back into the socket, and have the child hold it in place if they are able. If this is not possible, place the tooth in milk (NOT WATER) and call our office immediately. If “Save-A-Tooth” is available on site, this is the best medium for storing the tooth until the child is seen by one of our doctors.
Baby teeth should never be re-implanted and are best to put under the child’s pillow for the Tooth Fairy. It is still important to schedule a visit at either our Grand Rapids or Rockford offices for a follow up exam soon after the injury.