When your child has suffered a facial injury that results in chipped or broken teeth, you may be on the verge of panicking. Broken teeth, though often not serious, require immediate dental care to reduce the damages and assess the injury. Because damage to teeth can cause issues in the underlying gums and bone, you should make an appointment for your child to see a dentist as soon as possible. But before you go with your child to the dentist, there are a few things to expect.
Critical Care Assessment
A critical care assessment is a requirement for dental injury, because although a broken tooth may be the only visible damage to your child's face, there can be underlying damage that is unseen. Damage can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the back of the throat, the jaw, or surrounding gums. Nerve problems, infections, and lacerations to areas elsewhere in the mouth can be a result of broken pieces impacting into soft tissue. If your child has any disturbance, like visual changes, pain, fever, or breathing problems, you should seek emergency dental care. If it's determined that the broken or chipped tooth is not life-threatening but will require further care, then your dentist will be able to tell you during this critical first assessment.
Treatment for a broken tooth may mean numbing an area, administering pain medicine, or simply waiting it out. Chipped or broken baby teeth may or may not require repair, depending on the extent of the damage. Often, insignificant chips to baby teeth can be overlooked, because the teeth will fall out eventually. In some cases though, a dentist may place a bond over the chip or grind down the surrounding area to reduce pulp area exposure that can cause infection.
If your child has damaged adult teeth, the need for repair is critical. Repair to adult teeth using bonding agents can reduce root exposure to bacterial infection, and it will also help to restore the integrity of the tooth so further damage doesn't occur. Though caps and crowns are advised for adult teeth that are damaged, this step won't be applicable until your child has become an adult. There are changes to the position of teeth and structure of the jaw don't stop until adulthood, even if your child has adult teeth, so until then, a dentist is likely to make repairs to your child's teeth using resins or composite bonds.