Children are fearless adventurers, brave explorers, and sometimes, clumsy little goofballs! Their curiosity will take them far, and it’s our jobs to make sure they get there intact! But what happens when your wandering wonder takes a pretty serious tumble?
There’s a reason they call the upcoming season “fall”, and parents are going to be seeing more and more falls in the next few months! Whether it’s investigating monkey bars at school, conquering the treetops, or practicing a new jump at dance class, Autumn is a season for taking a trip… literally, and West Maple Pediatric Dentistry wants to make sure your child is able to get back on their feet and smile at the world!
Kids Will Fall For Anything!
Among some of the common reasons we see an increase in broken teeth in the fall:
- More children riding their bikes to, from, and after school
- Increased high-impact activities
- Engagement in sports without the use of a proper mouth guard, or a properly fit mouthguard
- Chewing and gnawing on pencils during class
- Snacking at school on hard candies, lollipops, and other hard, high-sugar foods
- Increased stress often leads to grinding teeth and clenching the jaw, often even while asleep
How Bad Can It Be?
What we can do about broken, chipped, or injured teeth depends greatly on the severity of the injury, and how soon you’re able to bring your child in! When we get a call about a “broken” tooth, that could mean a number of things! Some common injuries we often see include:
Chipped Tooth: Caused by impact or trauma, chipped teeth can be both painful and unsightly. There are different treatment options available depending on both the severity of the chip, and whether it is in a baby tooth, or a permanent tooth. Your dentist will recommend bonding, veneers, a root canal (this sounds scary, but the procedure is very much like having a cavity filled, it only takes a bit longer!) or a dental implant, for a truly severe case.
Knocked Loose or Lost Tooth: You may believe that once a tooth has been knocked out, it’s a lost cause. Maybe not! Throw the tooth into a cup of milk and make an emergency appointment. We may be able to repair the tooth if we work quickly! A prematurely lost baby tooth only needs to be addressed if the adult tooth is nowhere near eruption. A spacer will need to be placed to ensure the new tooth has plenty of room when it’s ready.
Craze lines: Small, superficial lines or cracks in the enamel. These are shallow, and don’t cause any pain or harm, and are very common in adults. Often, these lines don’t require any treatment at all, and can even add character to a smile! However, if your child develops insecurities about them, or if they become prone to staining or susceptible to cracking, dental bonding or porcelain laminate will smooth out that smile!
Fractured cusp: This often occurs while chewing when a piece of the chewing surface breaks off. This usually causes no pain but should be addressed. Make an appointment to determine how much of the tooth was lost, and if your child is at risk of losing more due to weakened teeth. It’s very possible that it was a one-time incident, and your child may need nothing more than a sealant treatment to protect the newly exposed part of the tooth’s structure!
Cracked tooth: A crack usually occurs on the surface of the tooth, extending toward the root. Addressing this early is key to saving the tooth and avoiding pain and substantial damage. A crack will not heal on its own and will rapidly deteriorate. This is worth a call to your dentist to be seen as soon as possible.
Split: Often the second stage of a cracked tooth, a tooth will split from tip toward the root. When the split reaches the root, the tooth can no longer be saved intact.
Vertical root fracture: Originating at the root of the tooth, and extending toward the surface, these cracks often go undetected until the surrounding gums and bone become infected. Treatment is needed as soon as the issue is identified, and root filling will be required.
A Pound of Prevention
If we can anticipate a few of these issues and put preventative measures in place, it can save you and your family a lot of pain, frustration, and money! We are more than happy to help fit your child with a protective sports mouthguard, a nightguard for sleeping, and sealants and fluoride treatments to keep those teeth strong!
And if you are worried about your child’s smile, make an appointment today. Our team is happy to take the time to talk through your concerns and come up with a plan that suits your family