Our adventurous and curious children will inevitably take a fall or two. As a caregiver, you can prevent severe injuries by proactively creating a safe playing environment. While at home, carpets and rugs can help soften falls. Also, be sure to place items that are small enough to fit in a child’s mouth, out of their reach. In an outdoor setting, encourage walking instead of running. At parks, assist small children on playground equipment.
Mouth Guards and Night Guards
If you have a child who participates in rough play and/or sports, a great preventive appliance to invest in is a mouth guard. Your dental provider can custom make a mouth guard, or for a more affordable option, drug stores have appliances that you can mold at home.
A second preventive appliance that your child may need is a night guard. A night guard is needed when the child has a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth at night while sleeping. A parent may not be aware if their child clenches or grinds, but if there is significant wear on your child’s teeth, your dental provider will be able to identify the issue.
To minimize these chances of injury, supervise your children during play time and use soft toys. Avoid toys that are sharp or very small in size. If the gums begin to bleed from injury, hold a sterile wet gauze to their gums with steady pressure to stop the bleeding. Once you have established an intervention to control the bleeding, be sure to call your dental provider or an emergency provider if the incident occurs after working hours. If the incident occurs during working hours, call your dental provider as soon as possible, they may request the child to come in for an examination.
To prevent swelling, use an icepack wrapped in a washcloth and hold it to the site of injury. Monitor your child’s health, be sure to keep an eye out for any pain, fever, and/or swelling of the gums.
Injury to a Baby Tooth
While some bumps or chips to the baby tooth do not cause any major issues, others may cause damage to the nerve of the tooth causing it to turn a grey color several days after the injury. A grey colored tooth shows that the tooth has “died,” so it is important that you call your dental provider as soon as possible, to tell them about the incident and to seek their professional advice.
If your child has “knocked-out” a baby tooth, stop the bleeding by applying steady pressure with a piece of sterile gauze or a sterile washcloth. If you have the tooth, avoid touching the root of the tooth and place it into a cup of milk.