Tooth Busters 101: Dental Injuries and What to Do

dental injuries

We might have helmets, mouth guards, and padded playgrounds, but our children will still find ways to hurt themselves. When do you “rub some dirt on it,” and when do injuries to the mouth mean it’s time to find a dentist in North Las Vegas?

At Dentistry for Families, we understand that accidents happen. Sometimes it’s ok to wait until Monday; other times you need to get to a dentist or medical doctor right away. Let’s take a look at a few situations so you know what to do in the event of a dental accident.

Oral Trauma

In the event of a non-emergency, do what you can to minimize your child’s discomfort until you can get in to see our team.

Losing a Permanent Tooth

I once treated a young man who was enjoying a caramel apple sucker while shooting some hoops outside. It melted in the heat, adhered to his tooth (a molar), and cleanly extracted the tooth when he removed the sucker.

Fortunately, we can usually save a tooth that managed to find its way out. You should immediately rinse the tooth with water, ensuring that you don’t touch the roots. Place the tooth in a container filled with milk, and call our North Las Vegas office to get in for urgent dental treatment.

What to Do With a Broken Tooth

Another young man was forging some new muscle in the gym when he took a weight to the mouth. Ouch. It broke his front tooth in half.

I can usually restore an original broken tooth as well. If not, we can add a crown that blends perfectly with the patient’s natural smile. Take the loose piece(s) and rinse them with water, storing them in milk as you would for a whole tooth. Apply fluoride toothpaste to the fractured part that’s still in the mouth, to protect it from bacteria, and then call our North Las Vegas dental practice to get in for treatment.

Detached Crown

Children often lose crowns due to sticky candy, but there are many other reasons a crown can come off. The underlying tooth might be decayed, people break it when grinding their teeth, or the cement can give out.

Don’t attempt to put it back in yourself—Gorilla Glue is great stuff, but now is not the time for it. The remaining tooth structure needs to be evaluated and the crown precisely placed. Clean the crown and then call our North Las Vegas dental practice to get in for treatment.

Cuts and Other Wounds

Many children take hard spills in sports like football, cheerleading, or soccer. For this reason, we recommend mouth guards to protect teeth as much as possible. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, though, and as a parent of four I can say my stomach churns when I see my kids get hurt. Shots to the mouth can be painful and sometimes result in bleeding.

Get a look inside to see if there are large cuts (that may need sutures) or anything missing. If everything looks to be where it should and the patient can breathe, apply gauze to the bleeding area. After it stops bleeding, apply Vaseline to help seal and moisturize the wound. Ice can help reduce pain and swelling, and you have my permission to follow the instructions on the bottle to administer some ibuprofen. If pain, bleeding, and swelling persist, give us a call or seek medical attention.

When to Get Urgent Care for Dental Injuries

In the event of a more severe dental accident, the situation calls for immediate medical attention. These cases might include dental injuries or otherwise be dentistry-related, but other risk factors will mean you need to immediately seek medical attention.

Losing Consciousness

Anytime someone loses consciousness, they should be medically evaluated immediately. This is particularly true if an impact to the head was involved. If there are dental problems to take care of, we’ll get to those as soon as the patient is safe and cleared of traumatic brain injuries.

Severe Jaw Pain

If the pain occurs when opening and closing the mouth and was the result of trauma, we could be looking at a jaw fracture or dislocation, so don’t wait for the dentist. If there is any swelling, go to the emergency room—it could result in difficulty breathing or swallowing.

If you’re unsure of the cause of the pain (it just started badly hurting), it could be an infection or the result of TMD. In the case of the latter, the pain might be felt in the jaw (these cases often come to the dentist as a result), but is actually stemming from muscular or joint problems around the jaw or ear. If the pain is significant, seek urgent care to rule out other problems, and if it is a dental problem we will see you as soon as possible.

Only a Dentist Can Perform Dentistry.

If you’re not sure, call us. Better safe than sorry.

Most emergency rooms aren’t going to have a dentist on standby, and only a dentist can provide most dental treatments. However, urgent care facilities can provide immediate pain relief and rule out or treat non-dental problems. If there are any dental problems present, call our practice and get in as soon as possible.

If you’re not sure what to do about your particular dental problem, or if it qualifies as an emergency, simply call our North Las Vegas dental practice and we’ll help you determine the right solution.

If you experience an oral trauma emergency/accident, assess the situation. If it requires immediate medical attention, call 911. If it doesn’t require immediate medical attention, call Dr. Soard directly to be seen ASAP.

~Dr. Zachary Soard