Recently our youngest child engaged in a feat more suited to a trained circus professional than a toddler and the result was not pretty. A knocked out tooth, much blood, a hysterical mother and the question, ‘Why isn’t dental care included in infant first aid courses’?
You’ll be pleased to know we have now added dental care to our infant first aid course. The course is designed for parents and carers of young children in a non professional care setting. We aim to cover the top emergency health issues parents and carers face with young children including, choking, drowning, burns, CPR, severe cuts, broken bones, eye injuries and of course dental emergencies.
We asked our dentist friend Dr Nicki to confirm if our knowledge of what to do in a dental emergency was up to date and we were pleased to know it was. So what exactly do you do when you child or another person breaks or knocks out a tooth?
In the case of a clean break try to locate the missing piece of tooth, wash in warm water and place in a sealed plastic bag or container with a little bit of milk or saline and head straight for the nearest emergency dental clinic. Most often if only a portion of the tooth has been broken the patient will feel little to no pain, this does not mean however that there has not been any damage below the surface to the root or gum, a broken tooth or teeth should always be treated as a dental emergency and as such the patient should be looked at immediately. If you live in a rural area or other region where an emergency dental clinic is not available the patient should be taken to the nearest hospital emergency room. In cases where a clean break has occurred the tooth may be able to be repaired using the broken piece.
Knocked out tooth
If a tooth is completely knocked out try to locate it and pick it up by the part that you would normally see when the patient smiles. Do not touch the root of the tooth or try to clean away any skin, dirt or other materials from the tooth or root. Place the tooth in a clean, sealed bag or container (a plastic lunch bag works just fine) with a little milk or saline solution and proceed to the nearest emergency dental clinic or hospital emergency room. Quite often when a tooth has been knocked out or partially knocked out a lot of blood can be produced. If the patient is old enough, have them bite down on gauze or similar to stem the flow of blood. Water can be used to rinse and spit periodically whilst waiting for medical attention. Never ask the patient to lay back when bleeding orally as they may choke on the excess fluid. If the patient is not old enough to bite down on gauze (as was the case with our daughter) offer room temperature water and encourage the child to spit the water out, comfort the child as best as possible and seek immediate assistance from an emergency dental clinic or hospital emergency room.
If you did not witness the cause of the dental emergency, particularly where younger children are involved, it is always recommended to head directly to a hospital emergency room as the first option. The patient may have sustained concussion or other facial injuries such as facial fractures which may not be obvious to the naked eye. If in doubt, avoid the dental clinic and head straight for the hospital.
If you have any safety questions that you would like answered please feel free to send them to us via our email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Miss H showing her pearly whites before the accident.