With the current COVID-19 restrictions in place it seems we are all at home a little more often. For those with children at home, the close quarters may yield an incident or two… sometimes these involve a missing tooth! “Accidents happen” is a phrase we have all heard, but the reality is that accidents can have quite serious consequences for our teeth. The good news is that the trauma of dental injury can be minimised if you know what precautions to take and what to do in the unfortunate event you suffer damage to your teeth.

Accidents happen
Teeth can become cracked, chipped or loose from accidents. It is important to get them checked by Essential Dental as soon as possible to ascertain if the tooth can be saved or the damage minimised. If you or your child does experience trauma to the teeth, follow the below advice before you reach Essential Dental.

Knocked out teeth – what can I do to help?
Deciduous (baby) teeth
If your child knocks out a ‘baby’ tooth, remain calm and follow the steps listed below:
1. Find the tooth, and hold it by the crown only, not the root.
2. If it is a baby tooth, do not reinsert back into the mouth. If you are unsure, place the tooth in milk or saliva for transport.
3. Make a booking straight away.

NOTE: The crown is the part of the tooth visible inside the mouth while the root anchors the tooth to the jawbone and is not normally visible. Depending on your child’s age, the baby tooth may not have much root structure remaining. This is because the root resorbs for the tooth to become loose before falling out.

Permanent (adult) teeth
Remain calm and act quickly, ideally try to see your dentist within 30 minutes.
1. Find the tooth and hold it by the crown only, not the root surface.
2. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk or tap water very briefly. Do not scrub it.
3. Place the tooth back in position inside the mouth.
– Make sure it is facing the right way around.
– Gently bite down on soft cloth or tissue or use aluminium foil or your mouthguard to hold it in place.
4. If you can’t replant the tooth, transport it to your dentist in milk or saliva. Do not store in water.

NOTE: The crown is the part of the tooth visible inside the mouth while the root anchors the tooth to the jawbone and is not visible normally.

It is best NOT to:
– Wrap the tooth in paper towel or a serviette.
– Store the tooth in water when transporting it to the dentist.
– Scrub the root surface of the tooth when rinsing it.
– Delay, the sooner you do, the better the long-term outcome may be.

Dental injuries
Alternate forms of trauma to the teeth can include injuries causing a tooth or multiple teeth to become:
1. Moved from their original position (e.g. pushed backwards) – try to move the teeth gently back to their original position and close the mouth with a soft cloth or tissue between the front teeth.
2. Cracked, chipped or fractured – if you find the fractured tooth fragment, take it with you to the dentist.
3. Loose/mobile but still intact – seek dental advice.
4. Pushed up into the gums and bone – the tooth may no longer be visible.

For any of these types of trauma, it is best to visit is Essential Dental as soon as possible for assessment.

If your child develops a toothache, book an appointment with your dentist straight away. In the meantime, rinse your child’s mouth with salty water and/or use paracetamol for pain relief. If facial swelling is present, your child needs to see a dentist as soon as possible. These recommendations do not apply to babies who are teething.

It is recommended that children, teenagers and adults wear a custom-fitted mouthguard made by a dentist for sport. Mouthguards act to absorb and spread the impact of a blow to the face, which may otherwise result in an injury to the mouth or jaw/s. Mouthguards should be worn during training and on game day. For more information on Mouthguards see our story here.

If you have a mishap contact the team at Essential Dental today on 8251 7677 during business hours. If a serious dental emergency occurs AFTER HOURS please contact the ADA Locum Dentist on (08) 8272 8111 or go to the Emergency Department of the Royal Adelaide Hospital.