Ouch! What to do if your child gets a tooth knocked out

Summertime can be one of the most fun and active seasons for your child, but it can also be one of the most dangerous seasons when it comes to dental injuries. It is not uncommon for children to fall off a bike or get injured during a sport and realize they have lost a tooth. If this happens, don’t panic. Teeth can be saved in most cases when an adult can quickly jump into action. First, though, check two things: make sure your child does not have any other serious injuries that may require an ambulance, and determine if the tooth that was knocked out was a baby tooth or an adult tooth.

If the tooth was a baby tooth, don’t worry about finding the tooth or getting it placed back into the mouth. It is still a good idea to see the dentist to make sure no other damage was done, but it is not vital to save the tooth when an adult tooth will soon be erupting anyway. If, however, it was an adult tooth, there are several things you can do to preserve the tooth and increase the chances of it being successfully replanted into the mouth. Just remember that the faster you locate the tooth and get your child to the dentist, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved. If a tooth is knocked out:

  • Do not let the tooth dry out, and do not soak it in water. If the tooth is dirty, put it in milk immediately.
  • Do not scrape or touch the root surface.
  • After making sure the tooth is clean, put it back into the socket and hold it in place on the way to the dentist. If it cannot be put back into the socket, keep it in a glass of milk to prevent it from drying out.
  • Go straight to your True Dental Disocunts dentist or a hospital immediately. During treatment, a dentist will give your child a “splint” to keep the tooth in place while it heals.

It is important to remember that knocked-out teeth can often be prevented by reminding your child to wear a mouth guard during recreational and sporting activities. Teeth are surprisingly easy to damage, so it’s always better to be overly cautious and protect your child’s beautiful smile.

Effects of cancer treatments on oral health

Most cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are aware of the risks and side effects associated with the treatment, but not all are familiar with its effects on oral health. According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer suffer from painful oral complications after receiving radiation therapy. Radiation in the head and neck regions of the body can cause patients to develop dry mouth, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay, and lesions. They may also experience difficulty swallowing. Although most of these effects are caused by radiation, chemotherapy may also result in damage to the oral cavity. To prevent these effects, the American Dental Association suggests that a patient’s oncologist and dentist work together before and during treatments.

Patients undergoing cancer treatments should typically brush their teeth gently twice a day and may need to use a special saliva-replacement product to combat dry mouth. An increase in the frequency of fluoride treatments may also be recommended. The most important thing for patients to remember is to maintain constant and proactive communication with their dentists and oncologists. Both health professionals care about their patients’ well-being and can benefit from coordinating their treatments. If you are anticipating cancer treatments in the near future, talk to your True Dental Discounts -plan dentist for individualized advice and recommendations. He or she will perform a full oral examination and work with you to maintain your healthy smile.

Does your child need space maintainers?

One of the primary purposes of a child’s “baby teeth” is to reserve space for the adult teeth growing underneath. Typically, baby teeth fall out once the adult tooth begins pushing its way through the surface and is ready to emerge. However, in some cases, children may have a baby tooth removed early if they get it knocked out in an accident or have it removed due to dental decay. When this happens, there is a chance that the tooth underneath is not yet ready to emerge, causing a gap to be present in the tooth line.

Unfortunately, some adult teeth do not grow in until the child is 12-14 years old, and your pediatrician may be concerned about later problems with the permanent teeth that could be caused by the gap. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, when baby teeth are lost too soon, adjacent teeth may try to fill the space by tilting or drifting toward the gap. This is a problem because baby teeth often guide the permanent teeth into place, meaning a child may end up with a crowded or crooked smile once their adult teeth have emerged. To avoid this scenario, a pediatric dentist on your True Dental Discounts dental plan will likely suggest space maintainers. Space maintainers are made out of either metal or plastic and are custom-made to fit into a child’s mouth. The purpose of a space maintainer is to keep the gap left by a baby tooth open and to prevent movement of the other teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that it is much easier to correct the problem in advance with space maintainers than to fix it afterward with extensive orthodontic treatment.

Once a child’s adult tooth has successfully emerged and taken its natural place, the space maintainer is removed. Until then, it is important that the child: avoids gum and sticky foods; keeps the space maintainer clean with regular brushing and flossing; does not pull or try to adjust the space maintainer; and continues visiting the dentist regularly. That way, your pediatric dentist can monitor the progress of the child’s tooth growth and ensure he or she has a beautiful – and permanent – smile!

Protect your child’s teeth by monitoring their diet

It is common knowledge that too many sweets can lead to tooth decay, but research points to another food group that parents should watch out for: starches. Starch can be found in a wide variety of foods – even so-called “healthy” ones like crackers, bread, pasta and pretzels. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests checking food labels for the presence of sugars and starches and then limiting those foods to mealtimes instead of as a snack. When consumed with other foods and drinks, sugars and starches are more easily washed away and removed from around a child’s teeth.

For the same reason, sticky-sweet foods like dried fruit are more likely to damage your child’s teeth because they often get stuck in the crevices. One common trap that many parents fall into is giving their child access to sugar-laden condiments, like many kinds of ketchup and salad dressings. These types of foods are not always associated with being sweet, but they often have lots of added sugar and can cause problems for kids who like to dip everything from chicken nuggets to apples. Finally, for very young children, experts recommend never putting them to bed with any liquid other than water. Juices and even milk are full of sugars that can sit on your child’s teeth while they’re sleeping and produce cavity-causing bacteria. To be safe, ask your discount pediatric dentist for her input on your children’s diet. She can recommend healthy foods that are good for their bodies and their teeth.

Regular dental visits prevent advancement of oral cancer

You already know that avoiding tobacco products is one key to preventing oral cancer. But according to the American Dental Association, there is a second strategy that is equally important: scheduling regular visits with your dentist. If not detected early, only about 50 percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer will survive after five years. That is why it is so vital that you have your mouth examined every six months by a trusted dentist. He or she will identify anything out of the ordinary that may be signs of cancer or pre-cancer and advise you on the smartest steps to take next. The American Dental Association suggests that oral cancer is often preceded by the presence of “clinically identifiable pre-malignant changes” that may appear as white or red spots in the mouth.

If caught early and removed by a dentist, these spots never have the opportunity to become cancerous – or deadly. Visiting a dentist on your dental plan on a regular basis will help ensure that any changes in your mouth are caught at the earliest possible stage. Also, remember that even if you do not smoke or use other tobacco products, you are still at risk for oral cancer. Research discovered by the American Dental Association shows that up to one quarter of all oral cancer patients did not use tobacco. African-Americans also face higher risk factors, so talk to your dentist and develop a plan to prevent oral cancer. It could save your life!