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Playground Accident? Don’t Panic: How to Handle a Chipped Tooth

Playground Accident? Don’t Panic: How to Handle a Chipped Tooth

When kids are darting around their neighbourhood or schoolyard playground, they’re not thinking about protecting their teeth. They’re thinking about who can reach the top of the slide the fastest, or how far on the climber they can go. And that’s fine – kids are supposed to have fun! But when they come running to you with a chipped tooth, that’ll be all either of you can think about.

Our first piece of advice: don’t panic. Chipped teeth happen, and it’s not the end of the world. We’re going to walk you through what to do if your child chips a tooth, and by the end, you’ll wonder why it ever seemed like a big deal in the first place.

1. Stay calm, and see how your child is doing.

Kids look to you for cues on how to react, so if you stay calm when they show you a chipped or bloody tooth, they’ll stay calm, too. Your next task is going to be figuring out how your child is doing, and where the chipped portion of their tooth is.

If your child seems like they’re in some kind of respiratory distress, like they’re having trouble breathing or swallowing, they may have the chipped portion of the tooth stuck in their throat, in which case you’re going to want to skip the dentist and head to the emergency room.

If, however, your child seems perfectly fine (aside from the surprise of a chipped tooth), ask them to show you where they were when the accident happened. Look around for the chipped portion of the tooth. If you can find it, store it in a clean, safe container in some milk. If you can’t, that’s all right too.

2. Prepare for a trip to the dentist.

There’s no way around it – you’ll need to go see your Barrie family dentist to address the chipped tooth. If the damage went deep enough to reach the root of the tooth, your child will likely complain of sensitivity or pain to different food temperatures or pressures on the tooth. Have them rinse their mouth with room temperature, clean water, and if they’re bleeding, instruct them to very gently hold some gauze in place with their teeth until the bleeding stops.

If your child’s mouth is beginning to swell, apply a cool washcloth or cold compress to the affected area of their face. If their chipped tooth is causing pain, give your dentist a call in advance; they’ll likely be able to recommend an over-the-counter child’s pain reliever that can take the edge off until they’re able to make it into the dentist office for an appointment.

3. Go see your Barrie family dentist.

Bring your child (and any recovered pieces of their tooth) to your dentist’s office. Once your dentist has had a chance to examine the damage, they’ll proceed with repair in one of several different ways. If the chip was superficial and only affected the outer portion of the enamel, the dentist may be able to apply a filling, harden it, and send you both on your way.

If the damage was more extensive, your child may need a crown or veneer to protect the remaining inner structure of the tooth and restore function. If the damage was bad enough to expose the root of the tooth, your dentist may need to perform a root canal to protect and restore the structure of the affected tooth. However, the result after any of these procedures is that your child will be able to return to the playground another day with a full, healthy smile.

Find a Dentist for the Whole Family

Our dental team is committed to ensuring that you and your family are comfortable and healthy at all times, and that commitment is seen in all of our visits. The office we’ve built is designed to be welcoming and help reduce any anxiety about the dental visit.

Our personnel are experienced in treating every member of the family, and that includes young children whose first set of teeth are still erupting. Whether it’s an emergency dental situation on the playground or the bi-annual exam on the dentist chair, we’re here to assist.

For more information on family dentistry services from Dr. Elston Wong, give us a call at (705) 721-1143 or send us a message online.

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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