Children's Dental Care: Accidental Injuries

From the earliest age that a child starts to crawl and explore the world around them, through and including the active years of childhood and adolescence, damage to the teeth, bones, gums, cheeks and lips is common. Falling and tripping over objects is the most usual cause of dental injury.

Injuries to Baby Teeth – The first baby (primary) teeth begin to appear at about six months of age. By two-and-a-half to three-years-of-age they are usually all present. Any injury to the teeth and/or supporting structure should not be ignored, and a dentist should be consulted as soon after the accident as possible.

Bumped Front Teeth – This type of injury is often seen as early as the time that children begin to crawl. The tooth may be loosened by the bump, and there is often bleeding from the gums. A dentist should check the child to be sure that the tooth hasn’t been loosened so much that it might be inhaled and cause choking. The dentist will also want to check the position of the loosened tooth to be sure that it has not been moved in such a way as to interfere with the normal bite.

Most teeth that have been bumped begin to tighten up within one to two weeks after the accident. Initially they might show some changes of color over several weeks. These color changes may be no cause of concern as they could indicate the normal stages of healing. Or they may be a sign of nerve damage that might lead to abscess formation. Your dentist should be seen at regular intervals of four to six weeks over the three to six months following the injury.

Teeth Knocked Out – Unlike the procedure for permanent teeth, primary teeth that have been knocked out are usually not reimplanted. The reason for this is that the success rate is not very high and the potential for other problems such as infection is increased, risking the developing permanent tooth.

Broken Teeth – Broken front teeth account for the highest percentage of dental injuries in the three-
six-year-old child. When this accident occurs, the teeth should always be x-rayed and an examination done.

Prevention is the Best Treatment – Custom-made mouthguards: We strongly recommend use of custom-made mouthguards for anyone over the age of 12 years who is participating in football, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, weight-lifting, volleyball, basketball, martial arts, baseball, wrestling, softball, skateboarding and off-road biking. Custom-made mouthguards fit so well that they allow the athlete to speak clearly, breathe freely and be assured the mouthguard will not float around the mouth!

The number one function of mouthguards is to help protect against concussion and brain damage. Mouthguards are especially necessary because the bone between the ends of the jawbone and the brain is so very thin that a blow to the chin or elsewhere on the lower jaw could cause severe damage.

Mouthguards also help protect against tooth fracture and loss; cheek, tongue and lip lacerations; neck and jaw joint damage. We can make multi-colored mouthguards to coordinate with your team’s colors – how neat an idea is that?

 

As the first Pediatric Dentistry clinic established in Calgary, Dental Care for Children is proud to provide Calgary’s young patients with a warm, friendly and family-oriented dental experience. Dental Care for Children provides dental care and education to ensure your child’s teeth, gums, smile and body are healthy from day one. Dental Care for Children emphasizes the quality of the child-parent-doctor relationship to establish trust and confidence. For more information, visit dentalcareforchildren.ca.

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