How to Deal With Your Child's Chipped Tooth Until They Can See a Dentist

Dentist Blog

When your child chips their tooth, it's important to get to a dentist as soon as possible. Try your best to get them an emergency appointment with an after hours dentist if you can. If you need to wait several hours or even a day until their dental appointment, here are the steps you should follow to avoid further damage.

1. Determine the Severity of the Chip

Not all tooth chips are equal. Some require more concern than others. Try to determine the severity of the chip so you can figure out how to proceed.

If you notice a very minor chip on the surface of your child's tooth, you don't need to be too concerned. While you should still see a dentist (who may be able to re-contour or patch the tooth), the only extra care you need to take in the meantime is to ensure your child is rinsing with fluoride daily. 

If your child has been in an accident or a fight, the chip will require a lot more care. Take a look at the chipped tooth. Can you see any exposed pink or red pulp? A severe chip with exposed pulp needs emergency attention, as the tooth may need to be removed. Seeing an after hours dentist ASAP is an essential to save a badly chipped tooth, but a moderate chip with no exposed pulp should be able to wait overnight without much ill effect.

2. Rinse Your Child's Mouth

Try to rinse your child's mouth with warm water. This is especially important if their pulp is exposed, as bacteria will be able to enter the tooth. If there's any bleeding, use a piece of fresh gauze to stem it after rinsing. Apply pressure with the gauze until the bleeding stops. It is best to rinse before stopping the blood flow to prevent the wound from reopening.

3. Alleviate Your Child's Pain

If your child is in pain, use an ice pack to help relieve their discomfort. Do not hold the ice pack directly on their chipped tooth. Instead, hold it over the part of their face that covers the tooth. The ice pack will also reduce any swelling.

If necessary, your child can also take pain medication. Child paracetamol and child ibuprofen should relieve some of the pain, but aspirin must be avoided for children under 12 due to its side effects. If you're unsure what to administer, ask your pharmacist which pain relief medicine is recommended for your child's age.

4. Find and Preserve the Fragment

If you know the location your child was in when their tooth was chipped, try to find it. If the chipped-off fragment is preserved correctly, a dentist may be able to glue it back on. If you do find the fragment, rinse it with lukewarm water for a few seconds, then store it in a clean glass filled with milk until you get to the dental clinic.

Fragments can be difficult to find if your child was playing outdoors at the time, but don't worry too much. If you can't find it, your child's dentist will use a tooth-coloured material to mend the chipped tooth. 

5. Control Their Eating

Certain foods can cause further damage to the chipped tooth. Hard foods, for example, may lead to more chipping, while sugary foods could encourage bacteria to flock to the area. It can be hard to stop a hungry child from eating for a few hours, especially if they're in discomfort. If you do feed your child before they see a dentist, only feed soft foods like rice or scrambled eggs. Encourage them to chew on the non-affected side of their mouth to avoid contact with the chipped tooth. After your child eats, get them to rinse their mouth out immediately with fresh water to flush out the remnants.

For more information and tips, get in tough with a local dentist


2 March 2016

Unraveling Dental Myths about Children: A Blog for Parents

When I had my first child, I was a nervous wreck. Every book I read gave different advice, and I just wanted to be right! By the time I had my third child, some of the stress had abated. I now realised, there were tons of different perspectives on everything related to raising children including dentistry. To help parents, I have created this blog dedicated to unraveling dental myths about children. I am including posts that weigh both sides of issues such as thumb sucking, dental caries, breastfeeding, flossing and any other topic I can think of. I hope you find the information you need to unravel dental myths, but most importantly, I hope you find some peace of mind. With kids and dentistry, there can be more than one right answer, and I want you to be able to relax and go with the answer that's right for you.