Dental trauma is essentially injury to any tissues within the head and neck region. This includes injuries to lips, gums, teeth and even jaws!
This list is not comprehensive as dental trauma may take the form of an isolated or combined presentation and in varying degrees of severity within each component:
Dental trauma can happen to anyone, both you and I included.
Although it may most commonly occur in the toddler (ie. ages 1-3, when they are learning to walk but not able to walk absolutely steadily by themselves yet) or growing child (when they are active and playful) age groups, it may also happen in youngsters (ie. ages 7-13) especially those active in contact sports.
Of course, no one wants to suffer from dental trauma.
It is after all an unfortunate accident, therefore the only way is to minimize the chances of such an incident happening in the first place.
Most of the time, dental trauma is largely preventable. Some easy tips would be:
Keep calm. Check if there are any other head or bodily injuries.
If so, please see your family medical practitioner or seek medical assistance at your nearest A&E Department at NUHS or KKH (these have children emergency departments). It is crucial to rule out any possible neurological injuries due to the injury.
One of the few true emergencies in dentistry is a type of dental trauma called tooth avulsion.
This is when the tooth is completely knocked out of the socket (ie. its position in the jaw bone and gums) by the impact of the injury.
In such a scenario, time plays an important role in the subsequent survival and available options for management of your tooth/teeth.
Although it may appear as though some dental injuries are minor, with little to no bleeding, it is still advisable to visit your child’s dentist as soon as possible for a comprehensive assessment of the injury.
During the appointment, a thorough clinical examination will be conducted and often radiograph(s) may be taken and/or tests done as appropriate. Management options would be discussed with you and the most suitable solution carried out accordingly.
Finally, your child’s dentist will advise on how to care for the injury site in the upcoming period so as to prevent further infection and ensure optimal healing conditions. You will also be informed on the subsequent follow-up appointments scheduled for your child.
Calmly find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part of the tooth). Avoid touching the root (the yellowish part of the tooth) as much as possible.
Ensure that it is a permanent tooth, and NOT a baby tooth. If unsure, please call the dental clinic and/or send photos to us.
If the tooth is dirty or found to be lodged in debris, briefly wash it under cold running water. Afterwish, try to reposition it in the tooth socket and let your child bite onto a handkerchief or towel to hold it in position while you make your way to the dental clinic.
If you are unable to do so, place the tooth in a suitable temporary storage solution, such as a bottle of full cream milk or saline solution or even a container of the injured person’s saliva.
When in doubt, please do not hesitate to CALL US – it is pertinent to seek emergency dental management IMMEDIATELY.
Getting appropriate dental care within 30 minutes CAN make a difference between saving or losing the tooth!