Importance of Having an Emergency Dentist for Your Children
As a parent, you’ll be well aware that accidents happen and you can’t keep an eye on your kids every second of the day.
Children like to run around and play and they are sometimes boisterous. This means they are likely to fall and hurt themselves sometimes. These misfortunes often cause mouth injuries, so having an emergency dentist for your children is important to prevent tooth loss and other issues in the event of an urgent situation.
Apart from accidents, tooth problems in kids have a habit of coming out of nowhere. Your child might not tell you about niggling discomfort until they get a full-blown toothache. If your child has a dental injury or a toothache, it’s crucial to get them to a dentist as soon as possible. The longer the problem remains untreated, the worse it’s likely to get.
Baby Teeth and Adult Teeth
Most children have a full set of 20 primary (baby) teeth by the time they are three. By the age of 12 to 14, these teeth have usually been replaced with permanent, adult teeth.
Primary teeth are just as important as adult teeth because they reserve space for the permanent teeth. Early loss of a primary tooth can cause the adult teeth to emerge through the gums crowded or crooked.
Most dentists do not recommend reinserting a baby tooth lost through injury, because of the risk of infection to the adult tooth underneath.
However, various treatments are available to save a damaged baby tooth, including a pulpotomy procedure, which is similar to a root canal but less invasive. If it’s not possible to save a damaged primary tooth, a space maintainer can be fitted to stop other teeth drifting into the space until the adult tooth is ready to grow in.
The best chance of saving a permanent tooth that’s been knocked out is if it’s put back in by a dentist within one hour.
How to be Prepared to Cope with a Child’s Dental Emergency
As we’ve said, time is of the essence in a children’s dental emergency. Unfortunately, parents can tend to panic when their little one suffers sudden dental trauma, particularly if they don’t have an emergency pediatric dentist in place to handle such incidents.
Frantically searching around Dr. Google to “find emergency children’s dentist near me” will waste valuable time. On the other hand, if your children’s regular dentist has the facilities to deal with emergencies, you’ve got all the bases covered.
It pays to plan ahead so you’re well prepared to cope if your child needs emergency dental treatment. Keep close to hand the phone number and opening hours of your youngster’s dentist. If the dental crisis occurs when the practice is closed, make sure you know how to get to your nearest emergency room.
But how do you determine if your child’s predicament is really a dental emergency? Indications that your child may need urgent dental treatment include:
- Pain, soreness or sensitivity in a tooth.
- Dislodged or broken tooth after injury.
- Persistent bleeding.
Steps You Can Take if Your Child Suffers a Dental Crisis
Besides having an emergency dentist on hand for your children in cases of a toothache or a tooth damaged by physical injury, you also need to know what steps to take yourself ahead of the emergency appointment to ease their pain and help to save the tooth.
Decisive action can help to ensure your child recovers from a dental emergency without permanent damage.
Having a dental first-aid kit can be extremely helping in providing temporary relief for your child in the event of a dental crisis.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say this kit should include:
- A small cup.
- Cold compress.
- A tooth storage device.
Keep the dental first-aid kit near your standard first-aid kit so it's easily accessible. For further information on handling a child’s dental emergency, see our first-aid guide for parents confronted with a dental emergency in their youngster.
Where’s the Best Place to Get Emergency Pediatric Treatment?
Children are always getting hurt – it’s part of how they learn as they grow up – and five in 10 youngsters will suffer an injury to a tooth. Tooth damage and general mouth injuries in children are often the results of a fall, traffic accident, sports injury or a fight.
In most instances, pain is typically the primary concern with these injuries, which usually do not pose a serious threat to your little one’s health – although there can be a risk of serious complications in rare cases that can have long-lasting effects on a child's appearance and self-confidence.
Prompt treatment by a dental professional can mean the difference between losing or saving a tooth that’s been loosened, damaged or dislodged. If your child has a tooth that’s been knocked out, it's vital to get them to a dentist straight away to control bleeding and prevent infection.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your children’s regular dentist is the best option for emergency treatment. Check whether your pediatric dental practice reserves time in its schedule for dealing with children needing urgent treatment.
How Can I Help My Child to Avoid Dental Injuries?
There are certain steps you can take to lessen the risk of your child suffering a dental emergency.
Mouthguards significantly reduce the risk of dental injuries. The Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) and the American Dental Association recommend custom-made mouth protectors for many sports and recreational activities.
According to the American Dental Assistants' Association (ADAA), five million people in the U.S. lose teeth in sports-related injuries each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that more than half of these injuries are suffered by children as young as five years old.
Besides wearing mouthguards, dental injuries can also be prevented by:
- Teaching your youngster not to put anything in their mouth except food or drinks.
- Encouraging them to sit while eating and drinking, especially if using a straw or eating lollipops or other treats on a stick.
- Discouraging eating in the car, which can lead to injuries – particularly if your child is seated where an airbag can be deployed.