Children walk, run, climb, play, and are involved in all kinds of energetic activities. Sometimes they win a game, and sometimes they fall and get hurt. Accidents and injuries are a normal part of childhood just like any other. From precautionary measures such as using helmets and protective gear, to mouth guards, parents go to great lengths to ensure their children are safe. Despite these measures, sometimes children sustain tooth injuries – which are quite common. Some injuries cause a small part of a tooth to break while some could fracture (crack or break) the tooth. In situations like these, see your emergency pediatric dentist and have the tooth evaluated by them, as it’s not possible to determine the damage by yourself.
Causes of broken teeth
One of the most common causes of broken teeth among children is trauma due to accidental falls or traumatic facial injuries. Direct force to the face from contact sports, accidents, or a fall can lead to dislodged teeth as well as broken and chipped teeth.
Sometimes, small chips caused by normal wear may weaken the tooth and make it easier to break off. This is very common with baby teeth. Whereas in adult teeth, weakened tooth enamel (the mineralized outer layer of teeth) leaves the teeth vulnerable to decay, chipping, cracking, and breaking. In addition, teeth with untreated tooth decay can fracture and chip in children especially when they eat hard or crisp foods. Lack of proper dental care makes broken teeth more likely, even with less severe trauma.
In toddlers, sometimes biting into a piece of a hard toy or candy can cause the tooth to break. Even if the broken baby teeth may seem less prominent, make sure to visit your dentist. The baby teeth serve as a crucial placeholder for the adult teeth and any injury to them must be treated as soon as you can.
First Aid measures
Here’s what you should do to reduce the damage of your child’s tooth fracture and treat the pain temporarily until arrival at the dentist
- Gently clean the area by rinsing your child’s mouth with warm water (not hot)
- Use warm salt water to rinse your child’s mouth to prevent infection
- If there is bleeding, apply pressure with wet gauze to the injured tooth to control the bleeding
- If the breakage is accompanied by swelling and pain, place a cold compress to minimize the swelling
- Give your child adol or another pain killer
- If you can find the broken tooth, rinse it with water if it’s dirty and place it in a container of milk, saliva, or water – they could be reattached. Do not scrub or use antiseptic on the tooth. See the dentist even if you’re unable to find the tooth. If it’s a permanent tooth, reinsert it back into the socket in the correct position. Do not reinsert a primary tooth.
- If there is any object stuck in the mouth or teeth, remove it using floss (do not use any instrument that is sharp or pointed)
Though a broken tooth may hurt or feel sensitive, some fractures cause no symptoms at all. Book an emergency appointment with a good pediatric dentist in Dubai.
How will your dentist treat your child’s broken tooth?
Treatment for a fractured tooth depends on the extent of the damage. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you must visit the dentist within 1 hour of the incident for the best outcome. A filling or bonding is sufficient if a tooth is chipped, fractured, and broken only on the outer layer of enamel. For injuries that expose the yellow-colored dentin (beneath the enamel and cementum) or red/pink-colored tooth pulp (the center part of a tooth), pain management and antibiotics may be advised to avoid infection. If the tooth is just chipped, your dentist may use fillings to repair the damaged tooth and polishing to smooth the edges. In the case of a cracked tooth with no damage to the nerves, your dentist may repair it using a filling. If the injury has caused nerve damage, your dentist may perform a root canal before applying a cap or white zirconia crown.
Prevention is better than cure
Though injuries can’t be prevented from happening, precautions can be taken to avoid dental damage. Children who are into energetic activities like playtime or sports can be made to play in a regulated environment. Ensure your child uses a mouthguard when participating in contact sports like boxing, football, or martial arts. If you have a toddler, childproof your home with corner guards, staircase gates, and carpet floors to avoid falls and bumps – especially if your child is learning to walk. Above all, ensure your child follows a good oral hygiene regimen with regular dental visits for strong and healthy teeth.
Call and schedule an emergency appointment with a pediatric emergency dentist right away if your child’s tooth gets chipped or broken – whether it’s a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. If it’s more of a minor injury, go to your nearest hospital’s emergency room.About Dr. Yasmin Kottait: Having dedicated 16 years of her career to spreading smiles and imparting knowledge of oral hygiene to children, Dr. Yasmin is a renowned name and face in the field of pediatric dentistry in Dubai. Her joyful personality and magical kid-whispering powers make dental appointments for kids an easy sail – and lots of fun, that they never miss a single dental appointment with her! Dr. Yasmin is also one of the few Autism friendly dentists in the region, with a diploma in Cognitive Based Hypnotherapy and IBCCES Autism certification.