Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
How Does a Dentist Perform Dental Injury Treatment for Children?
Children and teenagers are more likely to suffer a traumatic dental injury than other age groups usually following a fall, sports injury, or vehicle accident. Pediatric dentistry treatment should be sought following a young person's injury to the mouth or teeth to minimize damage and prevent permanent issues.
How can pediatric dentistry treat dental injuries?
Pediatric dentists approach injuries to children's teeth and mouths with a systematic treatment protocol. All procedures should begin with a thorough assessment of the injury, including questions about when, where, and how the injury occurred and an examination of the face, lips, teeth, and oral musculature. Additional procedures are dependent on the type of injury.
An accident may push a tooth out of position. A dislodged primary tooth is generally left alone, as it will eventually fall out, but in certain cases, it can be repositioned. For a dislocated permanent tooth, the pediatric dentist will move the tooth back and stabilize it. If the tooth is permanent and the patient is over 12 years old, a root canal may be necessary and should be performed within a few days of the injury. In younger patients, the dentist will monitor the tooth's healing and intervene with additional procedures if necessary.
Fractured or chipped teeth
Chipped teeth are extremely common, especially in children. For chipped baby teeth, the pediatric dentist will decide whether they should be left alone or repaired, dependent on the extent of the chip and the state of the rest of the tooth. Most fractured or chipped permanent teeth can be fixed with a filling or reattachment of tooth fragments. If the tooth is significantly broken, a crown may be used to cap the tooth and restore its appearance and functionality.
A knocked-out primary tooth should not be reimplanted due to the risk of additional damage to the permanent tooth that is developing within the bone. A permanent tooth that is completely knocked out constitutes a time-sensitive emergency. The tooth should be rinsed gently with water and placed back into the socket, immediately if possible. The tooth is more likely to be saved if it is reinserted within five minutes. If it cannot be reinserted immediately, the tooth should be stored in cold milk or saliva until arriving at the dentist's office. The pediatric dentistry professional will reinsert the tooth if possible and may perform additional stabilization procedures depending on the extent of the injuries and the age of the patient.
Other considerations for pediatric dental injuries
When a child has an injury to an underdeveloped permanent tooth, special attention should be paid to that tooth. Because the developing tooth has stem cells present along with an excess blood supply, the pediatric dentist may be able to stimulate root growth in an injured tooth without relying on a root canal for stabilization.
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An injury to a child's teeth or mouth requires special attention and age-dependent care. A pediatric dentistry office is uniquely qualified to tend to a child's specific oral care issues in the event of an injury.
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