School's out and summer is here, attracting swarms of children to flock to outdoor activities. Yet, parents may not realize how hidden dangers of certain summer activities can also affect teeth.
"In the summer, accidents that cause tooth injuries occur mostly from falling off playground swings, diving into shallow pools, baseball, skateboarding, in-line skating and bicycling," says Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokesperson Lawrence Bailey, DDS, FAGD.
If you or your child experiences a tooth injury this summer, Dr. Bailey recommends the following first-aid steps for a loose or knocked-out tooth.
If a tooth is displaced (loose), push the tooth back into its original position using very light finger pressure, bite down so the tooth does not move and call your dentist or visit the emergency room. Your dentist may splint the tooth in place to the two healthy teeth next to the loose tooth.
For an avulsed (knocked-out) tooth, pick the tooth up by the crown, not by the root – handling the root may damage the cells necessary for bone re-attachment and hinder the replant. If the tooth cannot be replaced in its socket on site, do not let the tooth dry out. Place it in a container with a lid and use milk or saliva. Visit the dentist as soon as possible – the longer the tooth is out of the mouth, the less likely the tooth will be able to be saved.
Reviewed: January 2012