Ahoy underwater explorers! We hope every trip your child makes to the dentist is for a routine cleanings, but accidents do happen. Dental emergencies can be scary, but it’s best for your son or daughter to see their dentist right away. Life is hectic. Mistakes happen. The ball comes out of nowhere. A baseball bat swings at a bad time. The floor can be slippery. Accidents happen all the time. What’s most important is that you and your children have the best possible dental care.
“I’ve seen almost every accident you can imagine in my years as a dentist,” said Dr. Lela Farmer of Scuba Smiles for Kids. “In times of crisis, many kids naturally tend to panic or worry. In addition to providing expert dental care, my goal is always to help my patients stay calm in the chair and make sure my patients feel as safe and comfortable as possible.”
Here are 3 tips we want to share for avoiding mouth trauma and what to do in the case of a dental emergency.
1. Always wear a mouth guard
The name fits the purpose. Perhaps the first thing your child can do to prevent mouth or tooth injuries is to make sure they always wear a mouthguard during sporting events, games and even practices. Full-contact sports such football and rugby, or even basketball or baseball can present numerous opportunities for accidental head-to-body or head-to-head collisions. We highly always encourage all young athletes to wear mouthguards. It could be the difference between a perfectly straight smile and an expensive dental accident.
2. Slow down and keep hands free
Remind your child never to run while holding something near their face or with something in their mouth. If your son or daughter trips, the item in their mouths can smash into their teeth resulting in a painful end to whatever they were doing. Additionally, when your children aren’t holding something, this leaves their hands free to brace themselves in the event of a trip or fall.
For younger children, sometimes added measures beyond a mouthguard and helmet can provide additional protection. Especially when toddlers and young children are just learning to walk or they are not 100% stable or confident, child-proofing your home can be an excellent way to keep your loved ones safe. An example of childproofing would be carpeting on stairs or rubber bumpers running along the edges of tables to provide a cushion for impact.
So, what happens if there is an emergency?
Dr. Farmer acknowledges, “It does seem that over the holidays is the time of year when the accidents happen. When your doctor is closed, and your dentist is closed, we just want our patients to know that we are here for you guys 24/7! We have an emergency line – you can always reach me!”
Perhaps the most severe dental emergency for a child or adolescent is when a full adult tooth is knocked out completely. Due to the nature of the injury, you only have hours or even minutes to act.
In this case, “If you’re not squeamish, you can put it back in the mouth and hold it there with a washcloth,” Said Dr. Farmer, “If you are a little squaemish, put it in a cup of milk and bring it in!”
These instances can be very time-sensitive, so make sure to bring your child into our office as soon as possible after any kind of dental injury. Fast action can mean everything. The quicker we can start helping, the faster we can reduce your child’s hurricane of worry and return everything to smooth sailing.