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What should you do when your child breaks a tooth?

dentist in Armadale

As your child grows, their ability to play and freely explore the surrounding world grows, as does their natural curiosity.

Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you that scrapes and bruises are just part and parcel of raising a young child. One thing that not quite as many parents consider however is the higher risk of dental damage – in particular, cracked and broken teeth.

While they may not be your child’s permanent teeth, that doesn’t make broken teeth any less of an emergency – one that should be treated by an emergency dentist in Armadale ASAP!

Baby teeth matter as well – if your child breaks their baby teeth, you should see an emergency dentist

A lot of parents assume that issues with baby teeth aren’t that big of a deal, especially if they’re approaching 6 or 7 years old – after all, they’re about to fall out anyway.

Unfortunately, this is a major mistake.

It isn’t uncommon for children to lose their baby teeth in stops and starts. In fact, this even has a name: what we call a “mixed dentition”.

Baby teeth can develop cavities, cracks and break  just as adult teeth can. Any cavities, chips, cracks or outright premature tooth loss here can be just as bad, and shouldn’t be ignored just because they aren’t your child’s permanent teeth.

First off, breaking a tooth hurts, whether it’s a baby tooth or an adult tooth. Leaving it means leaving your child with pain that can stop them from 

It’s important to maintain your baby teeth and mixed dentition, as these are the template that keeps the spaces for adult teeth.  Losing baby teeth prematurely can lead to loss of space and the arch of teeth can fall over, causing orthodontic problems.

A full arch of baby teeth, or mixed dentition, is like a natural set of braces, keeping the line-up in good order until the adult teeth are ready to come in.

What causes a child\’s broken tooth?

Falling, tripping or sports injury are the most common culprits that can lead to a child breaking a tooth or teeth. However, the damage doesn’t stop with a broken tooth – your child may experience other issues like:

It all depends on the severity of the impact.

Damage to a tooth – whether it is a baby tooth, or an adult tooth – usually happens following some sort of accident.  Of course a tooth may have already been compromised because of a cavity, and that tooth with a cavity may simply fracture whilst they are eating.

Certain disabilities

Children with health or physical conditions have a higher chance of falling or tripping – and that in turn often leads to broken teeth.

Conditions that affect your child’s neuromotor skills often affect their sense of balance, movement and coordination. That\’s why closer supervision as well as fall-prevention strategies are required to save you from an unnecessary trip to an emergency dentist.

Underdeveloped motor skills

As they say, Einstein didn’t learn to talk until he was 4 or 5 years old – that’s why they call language delays Einstein Syndrome.

Is it true? We’re not quite sure – but what is true is that children develop at their own pace. On top of their language skills, this also covers their motor skills.

In some cases, children’s muscle movements as well as their ability to walk, run, play and maintain good balance can lag behind.

This is completely normal – just be sure to watch out for falls, stumbles and other accidents. 

Underdeveloped motor skills in children may lead to them falling or tripping more easily, thus causing a chipped or broken tooth. 

Sports injuries

Kids love playing sports! Unfortunately, that comes with a risk, especially if they’re playing a contact sport.

We absolutely endorse fitted mouthguards for all contact sports and even non-contact sports like Soccer or Basketball.  If your child plays another sport and you are unsure whether a mouthguard should be used, you should call your Armadale dentist.

Tooth decay

Another thing that young kids love? Lollies.

Unfortunately, as all parents know, sugar and teeth aren’t a good mix.

Untreated tooth decay can cause the teeth to weaken as cavities are formed. In some cases, this can reach the internal parts of the tooth, causing it to break more easily – especially when eating hard and solid foods.

Enamel erosion

Tooth enamel protects the softer structures of the teeth from bacteria and cavities. When exposed to acid, the tooth enamel wears out, causing the teeth to weaken and become more vulnerable to breaking.

What should you do when your child breaks a tooth?

As we say, if it hurts, it’s a dental emergency!

However, in the case of tooth breakages then we recommend an examination as soon as possible after something in the mouth breaks even if it is not painful.  A missing tooth if left for a length of time, might lead to “tipping over” of the arch and future orthodontic issues.

The exact treatment your emergency dentist in Armadale offers for your broken tooth will depend on the nature of the problem.

After a dental accident, there are some things you must do:-

Tip #1: Stay calm

At the first sight of blood, parents may often panic, especially if they don’t know what to do next.

We know it’s easier said than done, but the best thing that parents can do is to stay calm – breaking a tooth can often be traumatic for a child, and losing your cool isn’t going to help the situation.

Armadale dentist

#2: Try to keep the broken bits of tooth – they might come in handy!

Accidents can occur whereby baby or adult teeth can be damaged.  As a rule of thumb, if you can keep the broken pieces, please attempt to do so!

This is certainly the case for adult teeth – what you may not have known is that this also applies to baby teeth.

The reason why the broken off piece is kept, is that in some instances it may be possible to bond back the broken piece either permanently or at least temporarily.

The reason why the entire tooth is kept, is that it may be possible to re-implant it!

If it is not possible to save the broken piece, then we have alternate techniques of “fixing” the tooth or teeth that may be permanent fixes or moderately long-term temporary fixes.

Rebonding the broken piece is the preferred solution, as it keeps your child’s teeth 100% original.

The broken piece needs to be kept moist, and the best liquid to do this with is milk.  If there’s no milk at hand, then even the patient’s saliva will work to keep the broken piece moist. Even water’s better than nothing!

Keep the broken piece in a container or plastic bag – whatever comes to hand – and bring it along to your Armadale Dentist.  Do not rinse or clean the fragment (or entire tooth if knocked out).

Our Armadale dentist will attempt to measure how the tooth is going with dental x-rays and it may be necessary to return for follow-up.

Tip #3: Rinse with salt and water

If you don’t have disinfectant on hand, salt and water can work in a pinch!

To clean the area, get your child to rinse their mouth out with lukewarm water mixed with salt. Once you’re done with that, you’ll want to move on to step 3…

Tip #4: Apply a cold compress

A broken tooth often can make that part of the face swell as blood rushes in. That\’s why it’s important to apply a cold compress in 15-minute intervals to reduce pain and swelling.

Cold temperatures constrict blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood that floods the cheeks and therefore bringing down the amount of swelling that follows breaking a tooth.

Tip #5: Address the pain and swelling

Breaking a tooth can hurt – luckily, there are some things you can do to reduce that pain while you book an appointment with your emergency dentist in Armadale.

In addition to reducing swelling, an icepack can also reduce the pain that comes with breaking a tooth.

If need be, you can also get your child to take an over-the-counter pain reliever to ease any pain caused by the injury.

Tip #6: Contact an Armadale dentist right away

Remember: a broken tooth is indeed a dental emergency, and one that calls for immediate attention from a dental expert.

Most dentists – including our family dental team – understand the urgency of the situation, and will endeavour to see your child as quickly as possible.

At our dental clinic in Armadale, we’ll slot you in as soon as we can. Give us a call before midday on a business day, and we’ll see you before close-of-business.

Our phones are manned all the time, and we’re always accessible. Call us on (03) 9509 1500 or book an appointment online today!

Book an appointment now!

If you have any questions, please feel free to fill out the form below or give us a call. Our friendly and experienced team look forward to hearing from you!

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