Dental Trauma in Kids

Written by Dr. Zeenat Jakhura

Any injury to the primary tooth/teeth has the potential to damage the permanent ones, especially if the damage occurs before the age of three. Complications caused to the developing permanent tooth may include discoloration to the permanent tooth, crown/root malformation or a disruption in the pattern or sequence of tooth eruption. Loss of a top front tooth in a child under three generally does not affect speech, growth patterns or psychological development.

Tooth injuries are an unfortunate reality. Accidents such as falling down, sports mishaps or childish pranks can cause a tooth to be displaced, fractured or knocked out. Usually the front teeth are affected.

You can soothe your child if he/she experiences any of the following:

bleeding from the gums around the tooth….. Gently hold a gauze over the bleeding area to stop the blood from oozing.

swelling…..apply cold compression like ice in a cloth over the swollen area to help reduce swelling.

tooth pain and soreness…. Over the counter medicine like ibuprofen can be given for relief.

trouble chewing with the loose tooth…. Stick to a soft diet and comfort your child.


How tooth trauma is treated varies upon whether the teeth are primary or permanent.
The permanent front teeth start coming out by seven years. Trauma to the teeth can result in the tooth being chipped, displaced or knocked out. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, rinse the tooth clean and place it back into the socket ideally within 20 minutes for a successful re-implantation. The tooth can be kept in milk or in the saliva in the mouth if your dentist is close by and you cannot manage to re-implant it. If its a baby tooth keep it for the tooth fairy.

If the permanent or baby tooth is displaced, visit the dentist immediately. Dental examination and x-rays will be needed to make sure there is no serious problem or fractures.

If an accident results in a fractured or chipped tooth, keep the mouth clean and monitor. If there is no pain or swelling, all is well. The dentist can smooth or fill up the chip later on. If there is pain and/or swelling the nerve of tooth has been damaged. Visit the dentist. Early intervention has a more successful outcome.

Kids are prone to accidents…. Do not panic… Comfort your baby and visit the dentist if your baby seems unsettled.

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