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Protect Your Child From Oral Injury

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With summer well underway children are engaged in all sorts of outdoor activities. Everything from playing soccer, rollerblading, jumping on a trampoline, and bike-riding can potentially put your child at risk for oral injury.

The Dental Health Initiative of San Diego that reported that more than five million teeth are injured or knocked out every year costing parents nearly 500 million dollars to replace or repair.

Since knocked out, broken, or forced out of position teeth can cause pain, infection, or impair oral function it is important to take safety precautions. To avoid these types of injuries, children’s dentists recommend wearing a proper fitting mouth guard.

There are benefits of wearing a mouth guard by far outweigh their discomfort and expense. Wearing a mouth guard has been estimated to prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries every year. Additionally, mouth guards can prevent damage to existing orthodontic work.

Since there are different types of mouth guards, consult your dentist for which option would be best for your child.

• Stock – pre-formed, over-the-counter, ready to wear, usually least comfortable and least likely to be worn, offers least amount of protection due to limited fit adjustment
• Mouth-formed – also known as “boil and bite;” made of thermoplastic material that conforms to the shape of teeth after boiling; vary in fit, comfort, and protection; most commonly used by athletes
• Custom made – must be made by dentists, most expensive but offers the most protection and comfort
In the instance that your child experiences oral injury, here is what you want to do.

Knocked Out Tooth

• Find the tooth immediately. Be sure to pick up the tooth by the crown. Do not touch the root.
• Immerse the tooth in milk or water. Do not place tooth in tissue.
• Contact your dentist for an emergency appointment.
• Do not attempt to place the tooth back into the socket as this may cause further damage.

Broken or Chipped Tooth

• Rinse mouth with warm water.
• Apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling.
• Repairs vary on how severe the fractures are. Consult your dentist.
• Treat with care for the next several days.

Cheek, Lip, Tongue Damage

• Clean the wound right away.
• Visit an emergency for necessary repair.
To avoid other oral injuries pediatric dentists suggest wearing a helmet with a facemask when playing sports; childproofing your home; and refraining from chewing ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candies.

For more information on caring for your children’s teeth visit our FAQ page.

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