When I was a kid, if one of my friends or I chipped or lost a tooth while playing, we said “oh well,” and went about our business. It turns out that (like a lot of things we did years ago) this was not the correct way to handle mouth trauma. Now that spring has begun and outdoor activities are in full swing, the chances of for mouth trauma are higher. The AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) has released a chart to let you know what to do in the event your child chips or knocks out a tooth.
I was able to interview Dr. Edward Moody, the president of the AAPD, and discussed what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Here are some of the things we discussed:
- If a child loses a baby tooth, don’t worry too much. Take the child to the dentist to make sure it is a clean loss. Do not place the tooth back in the child’s mouth because it might harm a permanent tooth.
- If a child chips a baby tooth, take the child to the dentist right away. There is a possibility that the tooth can be saved and a dentist will take steps to prevent a possible infection.
- If a permanent tooth is lost, immediately place the tooth back in the socket. Timing is critical, so take the child to the dentist right away. If the tooth cannot be placed back in the socket, put the tooth in a cup of cold milk and take it with you to the dentist. If you wait too long, you run the risk of infections and future alignment problems and a root canal may be needed in the future.
Like most things, prevention is the best remedy. Kids should wear mouth guards while playing sports. While practically this may be hard to do, a mouth guard could save your child a lot pain and save you a lot of money.
To read a previous interview with Rosie Pope on taking care of children’s teeth, click here.