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Does your child have a chipped tooth? Parents should be aware of a few things when evaluating a chipped tooth. We have compiled some questions and tips to help you in case of a tooth injury.

Is it a baby tooth or permanent?

Remember that baby teeth are not permanent, so your child’s tooth can grow back after they lose it. A dentist should evaluate the area to ensure there is no further damage, but it is most likely not an immediate emergency. A chipped permanent tooth needs dental attention as soon as you are able to get it. The dentist will decide on the appropriate treatment and explain the options to you. Also, regardless of whether the tooth is primary or permanent, discomfort should be addressed. If your child is experiencing pain, call the dentist. He or she can fix the tooth and treat the pain.

Evaluate your child’s chipped tooth

Is the tooth badly broken or mildly chipped? Is the tooth loose but still in the mouth? Or, did it get completely knocked out? Minor chipping may involve filing the tooth until it is smooth. This leaves your child’s smile intact and gets rid of sharp edges. Large chips may require bonding or other treatments. Of course, if a permanent tooth gets completely knocked out, a good plan is to locate it, place it in milk, saline, or saliva (without rinsing the tooth), and visit a dental emergency center right away. If it is possible to put the clean tooth back into the socket, you can try that instead of placing it in the liquid. Do not try to force it because you may cause further injury or pain. If a baby tooth gets knocked out you can typically just leave it out; it was going to fall out eventually, anyway.

Follow these steps while you wait to see a dentist

To address bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops.

Help your child rinse his or her mouth with salt water. A good rinse would be around one half teaspoon of salt, mixed in one cup of warm water. Salt prevents bacteria and aids in healing.

Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the injury area to keep any swelling down.

Only give your child soft foods to avoid any further damage to the chipped tooth.

If your child is in pain from the chipped tooth, you may give them an over the counter pain reliever like Tylenol. Always be sure to follow the label directions and any doctor’s orders that are specifically for your child.  Never put a painkiller against the gums because it may burn the gum tissue.

Poor oral hygiene will weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to damage. You can protect your children from tooth decay and broken teeth with proper brushing and flossing, sticking to regular dental appointments, and fitting them with a mouth guard for youth sports.