If you your child is involved in a sport—especially a contact sport—then it's important to protect his or her smile with a mouthguard. If your child gets hit or falls down, the mouthguard can disperse the impact and prevent soft tissue lacerations from tooth edges. However, accidents do happen, and your child may chip a tooth even if he or she is wearing a mouthguard. Here are a few basic steps you should follow if this happens.
Call an Office that Offers Emergency Dental Care
While some dentists have set hours, there are some which also provide emergency services during weekends and afterhours. The dentist may fix the chipped area with a filling. If the chip happens on an anterior tooth, then the dentist can bond a composite resin that matches your child's natural tooth color. If the chip is very deep and it's a baby tooth, then the dentist may decide to extract it instead of putting your child through a root canal. If the chip happens on one of your child's permanent teeth and the chip reaches to the pulp, then the dentist may decide to place a crown.
It's important to call the office as soon as possible so that your child can get the help he or she needs. Plus, the staff can tell you whether the injury warrants an emergency dental care visit or if it warrants an ER visit. For instance, if your child chipped just a little bit of enamel off and the dentin and pulp aren't injured, the dentist may say it's okay to wait for a regular appointment instead of rushing in for treatment. If your child chipped a tooth and it cut his or her mouth, then the dentist could refer you to an ER. If the emergency dentist decides to see your child, then the chipped tooth can be evaluated.
Keep Your Child Comfortable
Have your child use warm water to rinse the injured site. Then have your child apply a cold compress to the area. This can help to stop any bleeding and reduce any swelling. Ask the dentist to recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever and have your child take the recommended dosage. If the emergency dentist cannot see your child right away, pick up some dental wax at the grocery store. The wax can cover any jagged or sharp tooth edges. Lastly, if your child gets hungry, be sure to provide very soft foods, like mash potatoes, so that your child doesn't have to do any hard chewing.
Talk with your dentist for more tips to help your child protect his or her teeth during sports.