4 Facts About Traumatic Dental Injuries

4 Facts About Traumatic Dental Injuries
Posted on 07/02/2018

In summer, physical injuries to teeth occur due to mishaps at sporting events, car collisions while traveling, and other incidents during summer activities like biking and swimming.

Injuries to the teeth are serious, so any tooth trauma should be reported to your family dentist as soon as possible. Here are four other facts you should know about traumatic injuries to teeth in the summer months.

1. A Tooth Injury Is Common in Kids and Young Adults

Dentists refer to traumatic dental injuries as TDIs. These injuries are common and experienced by one-fourth of all school-age children. One-third of adults have suffered a traumatic injury to their permanent teeth.

Stay calm when you or a family member experience a TDI. Because tooth injuries occur so frequently, take comfort in the fact that dentists have developed treatment protocols that are well-tested and safe.

Your dentist will do all he or she can do to save or restore an injured tooth after an injury. However, you can help save the tooth by your actions after a traumatic injury.

2. A TDI Kit Is Easy to Assemble

Time is of the essence when a tooth has been cracked, split, or popped completely out of the mouth. Because of how common TDIs are, be prepared to act quickly after an injury with your own TDI kit.

If a tooth is completely severed from the gums and not stored in any type of tooth-preserving medium, you only have 60 minutes to reinsert the tooth and establish a connection. Dentists can try to save the tooth, but inflammation of the periodontal ligament and a dried-out tooth root make reattachment difficult.

Your TDI kit should contain sterile gauze for the bleeding gum and to pick up the tooth. Other items to include are:

  • Sterile specimen cup with lid
  • Tooth preserving medium
  • Sterile water or saline solution
  • Drinking cups
  • Age-appropriate pain reliever
  • Clean handkerchief or cotton cloth
  • Emesis basin for saliva and blood

A pouch or zippered storage bag for ice is also a great addition to the kit. Keep a kit with your first aid supplies at home and in your vehicle. Make sure your child's sports teams have a few kits on hand for any practice- or game-related TDI emergencies.

3. A Few Key Actions Can Save a Tooth

If a TDI leaves a tooth hanging by a thread, don't pull the tooth out. Try to reinsert the tooth and bite down on the handkerchief to keep the tooth in place. You may need to frequently spit if there's a lot of bleeding where the tooth was injured.

When a tooth comes completely out, stay calm and focus on handling any excess bleeding in the mouth. If dirt has entered your mouth during impact, try to rinse your mouth with the sterile water or sterile saline solution to reduce the chance of infection.

Additional steps for a completely detached tooth include:

  • Locate tooth
  • Pick up the tooth only by the crown or top
  • Do not touch the root of the tooth
  • If the tooth is excessively dirty, rinse in saline
  • Attempt to reinsert the tooth
  • Bite hankie or gauze to keep the tooth in place
  • Apply an ice pack to swelling and bruised areas of the face

If the tooth can't be re-inserted, soak a piece of sterile gauze in the tooth preservative or the saline solution. Gently fold it around the tooth. Place the tooth in the specimen cup completely submerged in the preservative, saline solution, or milk as a last resort. Never transport a loose tooth dry or in plain water.

You should immediately take the patient and the tooth to an emergency dentist or an emergency room if a dentist is not available. The faster you seek professional help, the sooner you can save the tooth. Splints, root canals, and other surgeries can often prolong the life of a severely injured tooth if treatment begins in time.

4. A TDI Can Often Be Prevented

You can help prevent tooth injuries by being proactive. Make an appointment with your dentist to make up-to-date mouth guards for kids and adults engaged in contact sports. Insist that children and grown-ups who ride bicycles, horses, skateboards, and scooters always wear approved helmets to soften impact with hard surfaces.

At swimming holes and pools, check out the depth of the water before allowing children or adults to dive in headfirst. Look for rocks, stairs and other hard surfaces that may be injurious to a diver. Be strict about no running around the pool area.

Kids should always wear seat belts when riding in any type of vehicle, and the adults should wear them religiously too. Items inside the vehicle should be secured so they don't become tooth-bashing projectiles if there's an accident. When boating, avoid speeding and intentionally jostling the boat for laughs.

When you plan ahead to avoid TDIs, you lower your risk of suffering from such an injury. When you have first aid supplies for TDIs on hand, you know exactly what to do to remain in control.

Contact Treasured Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, LTD, for mouth guards and recommendations for your TDI kit. Keep our office number in the kit so you can call right away after tooth injuries in the Frankfort, Illinois region.