When it comes to outdoor sports, you know that the only people who don’t fall are those not doing anything fun or creative. Not your kid, right? They have to make it interesting, they have to push their limits a bit — and that means they’ll see their share of wipe-outs. But what if one of them leads to a chipped or broken tooth… what do you do?
Rule number 1: don’t panic. Easier said than done, but keep this thought in the back of your mind: your dentist sees this all the time, and it’s no big deal. Of course, to your little one it’s a very big deal, and there are a couple things you can do to ease the temporary pain… Read on!
First, provide comfort. It’s hard to do much else when your little one is in pain. Let them know it’s going to be okay. Try getting your little one to rinse their mouth with cold water, and apply a cold compress to their face to reduce swelling.
Then, assess the situation. Ask to see inside their mouth and identify the tooth (or teeth) in question. Before you leave the scene of the crime, look for the tooth or tooth fragments that may have fallen. If it was a baby tooth that chipped or fell out, do not try to put it back. Instead, put it in a safe place in case your dentist wants to see it. If a permanent tooth was affected, either preserve it in a clean container in a moist solution (cold milk, water, saliva), or place the tooth back into the socket and have your child bite down gently on some gauze or a piece of cloth. This is the route you want to go if you can make it to the dentist immediately. Alternatively, you can keep “Save-a-Tooth” on hand in your first-aid kit.
Call your dentist. It doesn’t matter what time of day, or day of the week, your dentist will likely have an emergency number to call in their after-hours voicemail message. And, of course, you’re in luck if the tooth situation occurs during normal business hours. Let them know what happened and schedule your appointment. If you are unable to get the after-hours emergency line, you might want to take your child into the emergency room to get assessed.
Don’t worry or assume the worst. It’s easy to let your mind wander to the ways a missing tooth will affect your child’s development, speech, or popularity. But this is when we give thanks for the wonders of modern dentistry. Your dentist will come up with a treatment plan to fix your child’s smile in no time.
Invest in a custom mouthguard? At your appointment, ask the dentist what they think. If your child loves hockey or is especially accident-prone, this may be a great option.
There you have it! Relax, know it will be okay, and laugh with your little one about the cuteness of their toothless smile.