The Parent’s Guide to Dental Emergencies
If you have active children, it’s likely that they’ll suffer some sort of painful injury or accident over the course of their childhood. One or more injuries may involve traumatic injury to baby teeth or emerging adult teeth. Even among the most careful kids, team sports, rough-housing, and bike riding lead to cracked or displaced teeth on occasion.
But there’s no reason to dread future tooth injuries. You and your children will weather a dental emergency like champions when you have a thorough plan in place to face such an event. Here’s how to devise your family’s dental-emergency plan.
Prepare Mentally to Remain Calm
Have a plan to cope with a possible dental emergency the way you have a plan to deal with potential power outages. You may not want a power outage, but chances are good that your family will experience one from time to time. You may avoid planning for a dental emergency, thinking you’re only inviting trouble by imagining such a thing. On the contrary, by planning ahead, you’ll be ready for anything.
Remember that your children take their cues from you during any crisis. If you’re panicking and crying, children will think the worst of the situation and panic, too. So, take a quiet moment to imagine you’re faced with a dental emergency before it ever happens.
You know your children best. What things might you say or do to calm them when they’ve just lost a tooth? One way to preemptively ease your children’s fears is to schedule regular visits to the family’s dental office. When the dentist’s office is a familiar spot, it won’t be as scary a place to visit during a dental crisis.
Have a few stories of your own to tell your children on the way to the dentist’s office. Perhaps you or someone your children know lost a tooth in a similar way. Your children will feel less frightened to learn that other people make it through losing or injuring their teeth. Funny and interesting stories also distract kids from their pain and worry.
Have a Container and Medium on Hand
If you can find the tooth or tooth pieces, you’ll need a clean container for transporting the tooth to the dentist. Older kids may be able to hold the tooth securely between their cheeks and gums. Younger kids may swallow the loose tooth, so this technique is not recommended.
Teeth may be repaired or re-implanted with some measure of success. Part of the success depends on how quickly you can get the knocked-out or partial tooth into a safe liquid. Milk is one liquid that helps preserve the tooth, as does saliva. Never place a tooth or tooth pieces in water.
There are dental emergency kits available that include a container and tooth-safe medium. Ask the dentist for a recommendation on the best brand to use. Handle the displaced tooth carefully, holding it by the white part and not by the root if at all possible. You may briefly rinse the tooth with water if it’s landed in mud or is otherwise dirty, but don’t remove any tissue or scrub the tooth.
Gather Dental Emergency Supplies
You need provisions like batteries and flashlights for power outages. Likewise, you’ll need a few supplies for your dental emergency kit, too.
Along with the container and tooth medium, you should include:
- Children’s pain reliever
- Cloths to use for cold compress
- Absorbent towels for excess bleeding
- Gauze for gums or sockets
- Special blankets, toys, or security items
A notebook and pen are also handy to have in your dental emergency kit. Write down the time the accident or injury occurred and any other important details. Even if you must go to the emergency room first, your dentist will have questions about the injury. Your notes will be helpful.
The staff at All About Smiles is happy to share more information with you about preparing for dental emergencies. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be if your children ever face a dental trauma.