The unfortunate truth is that accidents happen whether it be sports injury, a fall of their bike, or simply tripping. While most chipped teeth are not serious, if the damage is beyond the tooth’s enamel layer, there is a risk of infection and tooth loss. Some children seem to be accident-prone, so it’s important to know what to do just in case:
Before your dental appointment:
- Rinse the mouth well with warm water.
- If there is bleeding, apply pressure with a piece of gauze until the bleeding stops.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medication, if needed.
- The tooth may have sharp areas that can damage the tongue or cheeks, so use a piece of sugarless gum or dental wax on the affected area to protect soft tissues.
- If your child must eat, they should consume only liquids or soft foods.
- And, most importantly: reassure your child that everything is going to be okay!
Possible treatment options may include:
- Smoothing: Not every chip requires extensive work. We may just polish or smooth out rough edges.
- Fillings: Typically used for more severe chips or on molars. This will help keep the chip from getting worse, and also help the tooth feel better in the mouth.
- Crown: A ‘cap’ for the tooth to help prevent further damage, and restore the tooth to normal function, especially if it is in the front of the mouth.
- Root canal: Usually reserved for more serious or vertical breaks in the tooth, especially if it’s one of your child’s adult teeth. A root canal therapy is performed when the pulp of a tooth that is either damaged or infected, and is usually accompanied by a crown.
- Tooth removal: In severe cases the tooth may need to be removed. We use this as a last resort when the tooth structure has been severely compromised, such as when cavities have weakened the tooth from the inside out, resulting in the crack.
Chipped and cracked teeth are scary for anyone, especially a child. We encourage patients to wear a mouthguard, especially if they participate in a contact sport. Please contact our Tyler Pediatric Dental office immediately if you feel anything is wrong. Thankfully, most chipped teeth are minor and easy to fix!