Care for Tooth Trauma - Trauma to the teeth, and in particular in the front of the mouth, is one of the most common dental emergencies. The following information is provided to help you deal with such emergencies.

Primary (baby) Teeth

Trauma to the front baby teeth can include loss of a tooth, fracturing a tooth, and loosening of the tooth. If a primary (baby) tooth is lost or knocked out, it should not be put back into the mouth. Under this primary tooth is a developing permanent tooth that can be damaged if the primary tooth is re-implanted. This type of emergency is best handled by a dentist.

A blow to the tooth that causes a fracture is another emergency that needs dental attention. The dentist will determine if there’s been any damage to the nerve and can also replace any fractured parts with dental materials.

A simple blow to a primary tooth happens frequently, often without the parent’s knowledge. The next thing that’s noticed is a discoloration of the tooth. This type of injury isn’t an emergency. Tooth discoloration doesn’t mean the tooth is dead or has to be removed. Well over 75% of discolored primary teeth will survive, and many will even return to their normal color. These teeth simply should be observed and can be checked at the child’s normal dental health care visit.

After any trauma to a child’s tooth the parent should expect some soreness. The child often will avoid using the tooth and will favor softer foods for several days. However, if this behavior lingers for more than a week, the area should be checked by your dentist.

Secondary (Permanent) Teeth

Trauma to a secondary (permanent) front tooth requires a different form of treatment. If a permanent front tooth is knocked out it should be saved. Re-implantation, or returning the tooth to its socket is important. The quicker this is done, the better the chances of tooth survival. If the parent cannot re-implant the tooth, they should retrieve it and place it in a glass of cold milk. The child and the tooth should be rushed to the dentist. With this type of injury, time is very important. The survival of the tooth is much higher if it can be re-implanted within an hour.

Fracture of a permanent front tooth is another emergency that requires immediate attention. Once the enamel, or hard outer layer of the tooth, has been removed, the nerve of the tooth may be exposed. Immediate protection should be provided. Immediate dental advice should be sought.

Discoloration of a permanent tooth means the nerve of the tooth has been damaged, and the life of the tooth is in jeopardy. It doesn’t mean the tooth will be lost, but it needs attending.

Remember that any traumatic injury to the oral area can result in excessive bleeding and swelling. It’s always good advice to place ice on the injured area and seek emergency help immediately.

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