Although here in Ohio it looks like Siberia with all the ice and snow, it will be spring and summer someday soon. I’ll be chasing the little white ball around the course, but for many kids, the nice weather also means the opportunity for injury increases. We were all kids at one point jumping out of a tree, swinging on the monkey bars, fielding ground balls at third base, etc. Well we’re coming up on a time when we see more dental injuries as well. So I thought I’d discuss what to do if your child has the unfortunate luck of busting a lip or breaking a tooth.
My first piece of advice is to put your child in a plastic bubble and do not let them out of the house. If you cannot follow that advice, then read on. If your child cuts their lip or has a facial laceration, clean the wound and try to see how severe the injury is. If you can’t see the bottom of the cut, then it’s off to the professionals because it’s probably stitches time. If you can see the bottom of the cut then use a cool to cold compress and put pressure on the wound. If the bleeding persists for more than an hour, you need to see a dentist, oral surgeon, or ER doctor.
A injured tooth is a little more complicated. If the crown (the portion above the gums) is fractured, save the piece and see your dentist as soon as possible. While it’s unlikely it can be bonded back on, it is possible sometimes. It also gives the dentist a perspective of what it looked like before the fracture. If the crown and the root are fractured out of the mouth and in one piece, try to re-implant the root into the socket then call your dentist. If you cannot re-implant it or the socket is fractured, then place the tooth in one of the following mediums. Below is the order of things to put the tooth into based on the best prognosis of tooth survival.
1. The tooth socket
2. Hank’s solution (found in many first aid kits)
4. Saliva (place in the side of the cheek)
5. Water (not good for the survival of the root cells)
The key to a tooth surviving is keeping the little root cells alive so the will integrate with the socket bone. Notice that keeping it dry is not an option. If it is left dry, the cells die in minutes and re-implantion is next to impossible. You have about an hour in any of these mediums for a good prognosis.
So keep your dentist’s phone number in your wallet or purse so when those kids decide taking down the trampoline net was a good idea, you’ll be prepared.