Summer is here, and in spite of being off to a cool and rainy start, sunny days will soon have children out and about—playing, running, climbing and diving. Whether in playgrounds, parks, pools, camps, sports fields or vacation spots—often tooth trauma accidents can quickly occur. In fact, an astonishing five million teeth are knocked out each year, and every two-and-a-half minutes, a child is injured on a playground in the United States.1 These accidents mostly cause cracked/fractured teeth and lip lacerations.
Park View's Point of View
At Park View Pediatric Dentistry, we want parents, guardians and childcare workers to be fully equipped to handle playground tooth trauma accidents. First and foremost the attending adult should:
— Be informed
This would be an excellent posting to share or forward with sitters, friends or relatives who may have the responsibility of watching your child, or escorting them on an outing/trip.
— Stay Calm
As with any accident your child will take their cue from you. Your calm, focused action will start to put them at ease. Often parents may even try to interject a little humor to let the child know that they have things confidently under control.
— Act Quickly
1. If the tooth is displaced or loose push the tooth back in it’s original position with light finger pressure. Have the child bite down gently so tooth does not move as you proceed to attend pediatric dentist's office or emergency room.
2. If the tooth has come out completely (root and all), proceed to dentist or emergency room immediately with the tooth. The longer the tooth stays out of the mouth, the smaller the chances are of saving it. Place the tooth in a cup with the patient's saliva to help keep the tooth alive. If it is not possible to collect the saliva, then put a little milk in the cup with the tooth.
3. If a piece of the tooth is fractured off, with some tooth still visible in the mouth, it will need to be built up with restorative material, so do not be concerned with finding the rest of the tooth.
4. In all cases use an icepack immediately to control swelling.
5. Use a small square of first aid gauze rolled up with light pressure at the site of the broken tooth or lacerated lip, to control bleeding.
If your child will be participating in active sports or activities on a frequent schedule, then we strongly recommend them being fitted for a mouthguard. It is also wise to review playground safety precautions to help avoid accidents from the start.
Here's to a summer of happy, healthy smiles! We look forward to seeing you at Park View Pediatric Dentistry. 212-879-6518.
1. Department of health—State of Florida