Doctor or dentist – who do I choose in an emergency?

Kids are always getting hurt. It’s a part of growing up and how they learn. One of the more difficult aspects for parents is what to do when there’s a little more than a bump or a bruise that Mum can kiss better. It gets even more difficult when it comes to facial injuries and deciding where to take your injured child. Have a look at our advice on common childhood facial injuries and our suggestions on how best to treat them and get your kids happy again.

Broken or lost teeth

Children with broken teeth should see a dentist as quickly as possible.

Treatment may include:

  • Smoothing the rough edges of the tooth
  • Repairing it with a tooth-coloured resin material
  • Leaving the tooth in place, or having it removed.

Broken permanent teeth can usually be repaired successfully. For the best possible outcome, the child should be brought to our Marylebone dental practice within two days from the time of the injury. Broken teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold need to be treated more urgently.

If a baby tooth was knocked out completely, it should not be placed back into the gums because of the risk of damage to the permanent tooth to follow.

A permanent tooth that is knocked out is a dental emergency that requires prompt treatment. The tooth should be placed back into the tooth socket as soon as possible to maximise the opportunity of recovery.

Loose teeth

A baby tooth that is loose may be left in place or, if interfering with the bite, it may need to be removed. Very often, a loose tooth will heal without treatment, particularly if it isn’t interfering with the bite. Injured teeth that are very loose may need to be removed if it is likely that the tooth could fall out easily or cause the child to choke at any point.

A loose permanent tooth that is interfering with the child’s bite is a dental emergency that requires speedy treatment. In most cases, the tooth can be returned to the correct position and watched over time. Does your child have a loose tooth? Bring them in to Happy Kids Dental and our experienced dentists will evaluate and treat them.

Deeper cuts and bruises

If your child has a cut or bruise, the severity is the key factor to identify. Any bruising on the neck or close to the eyes should be closely monitored and is advisable to have a visit to your doctor as these areas are particularly sensitive. The easiest way to stop/slow a cut from bleeding is to apply pressure to the wound with a towel or some tissues. If necessary, gauze can be applied to the wound. In the case of bruising, it is recommended that you wrap ice in a cloth or towel and apply it to the bruised area. If the bruised area is raised and painful a day later, seek medical advice from a clinic or doctor. It is not unusual for the bruise to change colour and go varying shades of blue, purple, green, yellow or brown.

Facial fractures

If you suspect that your child has a facial fracture of any kind, take them to a doctor or A&E immediately. Even if the teeth have been affected, it is a more sensible decision to let a doctor advise you and have the dentist look afterwards. Apply ice to the affected area immediately to help reduce swelling and bruising. Never apply ice directly to the skin as it can damage the skin. If there is a significant raised area or a distinct bump on the bone, it is worth having it investigated to learn whether there is more than bruising and in fact a fracture.

If you are unsure about any facial injury your child may have suffered, be sure to seek medical advice or attention. Facial injuries can be particularly delicate.

Call us for dental emergencies on our Children’s Dental Emergency Hotline before or after hours and we’ll arrange for you to bring your child into the dental practice as soon as possible.

Want to know more about how we create healthy, happy and cavity-free smiles? Pop into the practice for a tour, or call us on 020 7078 0822 to arrange a consultation!

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