Dental Emergencies

Baby tooth knocked loose, What should I do?

If you are reading this your child probably has a tooth knocked loose.  Do not panic!  The two types of dental trauma injuries that result from a fall involving trauma to the mouth are a dental concussion and dental subluxation. These two types of dental trauma are the most common dental injuries I see in the office. Basically, the individual falls forward and “bangs” the tooth (or teeth) on some type of surface (coffee table, cement, monkey bar, another kid’s head, you get the idea).

Is the child’s tooth loose?

What separates a dental concussion and dental subluxation is if the tooth has been loosened or not. In both scenarios, you can expect the tooth to be tender to touch. A “concussed” tooth is tender to touch without mobility and a “subluxated” tooth is also tender to touch but loosened.

Let’s talk about an action plan for your child’s tooth knocked loose.

Don’t panic. Your first instinct is probably to pick up your kid.

First things first. Make sure your child does not have any other serious injuries. Did your child lose consciousness?  Take note if your child is not acting like himself or herself? Check to see if anything is broken? In the case that everything checks out initially, look around the mouth and check for anything missing or looking different.

What to do if a tooth is missing?

Follow steps as outlined from the dental avulsion post. Supposing that the inside of your child’s mouth looks different like a tooth pushed back or forward, your instinct may move it back to where it was, however, leave it and let the dentist do that part. Often times the tooth (or teeth) was just banged up and everything else is ok.

Call your pediatric dentist

Please call your child’s pediatric dentist. This is urgent but not an emergency. You and your pediatric dentist will find the soonest appointment, same day if possible and if not, hopefully within 1-2 days.

Observe your child after banging tooth for any changes

Observation is key especially if the dentist appointment is a day or so away. As a result, I suggest doing observing your child for the next 24 hours and take note of any unusual behavior.

What Questions will the pediatric dentist ask after banging a tooth?

Questions I will ask you include any recent changes in eating habits? For example, only eating soft foods or won’t eat at all. Have you had to give any OTC pain medication like Tylenol or Motrin? When and how did the trauma happen?

What to expect during the exam after a child breaks a tooth?

Plan on radiographs and physical examination of your child’s mouth.  Your child’s dentist will be checking for any dental trauma and that includes the tooth itself, like a fracture line, damage to the supporting tissues like the gums, other areas of the mouth. From there the pediatric dentist will make an initial diagnosis with treatment and follow up plan.

Benefits of a being a pediatric specialist

Part of being a pediatric dental specialist, we spend a good portion of our training knowing how to assess and treat such situations. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, establish a dental home for your child with a pediatric dentist. As I said earlier, emergencies are by definition not something we expect to happen. However, when it does happen, you want someone who is experienced and educated in these situations to guide you and your child most appropriately.

In the last 2 weeks, I have seen at least 4 toddlers with the types of dental trauma mentioned above. I hope nothing ever happens but if it does, keep us at Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry in mind!

We are insurance friendly and are a preferred provider for many insurance plans. We’ll even help you file your claim! Call us today at (907) 562-1003 if you have any questions about payment options for your child’s dental treatment.

Medicaid Dental Provider, Denali Kidcare, BCBS and more

We currently are preferred providers for the following insurances

Denali KidCare

Premera

MetLife

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska

Delta Dental MODA

Medicaid

Dr Christy Jen DDS

Dr. Christy Jen received her undergraduate and dental degree from the University of Washington, and completed her pediatric dental training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She practiced in Michigan and Louisiana while her husband finished his surgery training before finally making Alaska their home.

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Dr Christy Jen DDS

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