Accidents can happen to anyone, and especially to small kids. What should you do if your child trips over, falls off something, or bumps into a wall and knocks a tooth, or even several teeth, out?Mouth injuries are pretty scary, because they cause a lot of blood and pain. It can be hard to see what is going on at first glance. So, what are the first steps you should take to help your child? And where should you go for help? We asked a dentist for advice on what to do in this situation, and here is what she told us about the steps parents should take.
Inspect the child's mouth to make an initial assessment of the scope of damage. If there is a lot of blood, it can be difficult to see. First, check to see if it may just be the bit of flesh between the gum and the lips that's bleeding apparently, that happens a lot. If a tooth or teeth are missing, check to see if you can find them, on the floor or wherever your child was injured. Permanent teeth can sometimes be returned to the mouth. Milk teeth aren't put back, but you should still save them for the dentist to examine them. If teeth are knocked out, wash with hydrogen peroxide, especially if there was mud or other dirt around at the site of injury. Then, avoid rinsing with anything.
Rinsing encourages bleeding, and what you want is for the blood to clot. Your child will probably be really scared and crying at this point. Give them a clean cloth, gauze, or hanky to bite on to stop bleeding. Don't use a paper napkin, as it will disintegrate. Does your child have any other injuries, like broken bones in the arms or legs? If there was a fall, they may not immediately be apparent if you were focusing on the mouth where most of the blood is. Check, and take your child to the ER if there are other problems. If not, call your dentist. At the ER, you may wait for a long time, before being told to go to the dentist anyway.