I wish I could tell you there was a foolproof way to protect your child from ever chipping their tooth or damaging their smile but there is no way to prevent child’s play, and accidents are inevitable. Each day my three-year-old daughter is pushing limits, jumping higher, running further and faster. It is a bittersweet time for me as a father because I am excited to see her grow, but I must accept that I cannot control every action and every boundary. I am thankful for the safety improvements of modern play facilities and I’m comforted by the advancements in cosmetic dentistry. So what should you do if your child takes a fall?
- In the event of facial trauma, be sure to have your child evaluated by a healthcare professional. Baby teeth may become loose or even lost from injury and it is important to also inform your dentist of such incidents. There are situations where treatment is necessary even if there is no discomfort associated with the trauma.
- At the dental visit, x-rays may be necessary and treatment such as extraction may also be recommended. Of course parents worry that premature baby tooth loss can affect the permanent teeth. Fortunately, its usually the front teeth that are affected by a traumatic incident and these teeth usually fall out on their own around the age of six. If a front tooth is lost prematurely, it is extremely rare for there to be an effect on the permanent teeth so rest assured.
- When adult teeth are affected, there are a wide range of restorative dental procedures that can help rejuvenate your child’s smile ranging from bonded fillings to root canals, crowns and even implants. Depending on the situation, your dentist may suggest certain procedures immediately and others later down the road after all of the adult teeth have come in. If permanent teeth become loose due to the trauma, it is typical to splint them together with an orthodontic wire until they become stable after a few months or so, and the health of the teeth is closely monitored.
- To minimize dental trauma during sports, the American Dental Association recommends that school aged children wear sportsguards during organized athletic activities. These can be purchased over the counter but people often complain they are too bulky and don’t fit properly. We can custom fabricate an athletic mouthguard that is much more comfortable and will provide optimal protection for your child if they are involved in contact sports.
Playtime is for fun and a broken tooth can be fixed, but prevention is the best medicine. Make sure your child plays responsibly and has the appropriate protective gear at all times. Always play cautiously, practice good oral care at home, and visit your dentist every six months for check-ups.