Posted on: 13 August 2015Share
About half of all children and teens will experience a traumatic dental injury by the time they graduate high school, so as a parent, you need to be prepared for this eventuality. There are many traumatic dental injuries that children and teens can experience, ranging from cracked teeth to knocked out teeth. It's also possible for their teeth to be partially dislodged; dentists call this injury an extruded tooth. Below are five questions answered about your child's teeth.
How does this injury occur?
Most dental injuries in children and teens occur during sports. The three most dangerous sports for children's teeth are basketball, biking and hockey, but other full contact sports like football, soccer, baseball and volleyball can also lead to injuries. Getting hit in the face with a ball, slipping and falling, or being elbowed or kneed in the face by another player can lead to an extruded tooth.
What are the signs of this injury?
If your child suffers an extruded tooth, their tooth will be loose in its socket. The affected tooth will be axially displaced, meaning that it has been partially pulled out and will appear longer than the other teeth. In addition, the tooth may be tilted forwards or backwards in its socket. Bleeding from the gum line may also occur. If your child experiences these symptoms, you need to take them to the dentist immediately.
How can you ease the pain?
Your child will be in a lot of pain due to this injury, so to make them more comfortable on the drive to the dentist's office, you can have them hold an ice pack against their face. The ice works by decreasing blood flow to the area, which helps to reduce both pain and swelling. You can also give your child an over-the-counter pain medication before you get to the dentist.
Can extruded teeth be saved?
With emergency dental care, your dentist may be able to save your child's tooth. The treatment for this injury depends on the severity of the extrusion.
If the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth aren't damaged, the dentist can clean the tooth and then put the tooth back in its proper position in the socket. The tooth will need to be held in place while it heals to prevent further injury, so a plastic splint may be attached to the tooth. Orthodontic brackets can also be used to restrain the tooth while it heals.
More serious injuries require different treatment. If the nerves and blood vessels are damaged, your child may need to have a root canal treatment performed. This is a fairly simple treatment. The dentist will drill a hole in the injured tooth and then remove the pulp with small instruments. The inside of the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned, and then it will be filled with an artificial material. The hole the dentist made in the tooth will then be sealed.
What happens if extruded teeth aren't treated?
Extruded teeth may not seem as severe as completely dislodged teeth, but serious complications can occur if they're not treated. If the pulp is damaged during the injury, it can become infected, and lead to the formation of an abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus beneath the tooth; this can be life-threatening if the infection spreads to other parts of the body. This can be avoided by getting treatment as soon as possible after the injury occurs.
If your child partially dislodges one of their teeth while playing sports, you need to take him or her to a dentist right away for treatment.