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Broken or chipped teeth in children is a common occurrence. Chipped teeth can be easily fixed by a dentist if proper care is taken after the injury. But as a parent, you must find out what causes it and how you can treat and prevent it in children.
How Does a Broken Tooth Appear?
There are many different ways a broken tooth can appear. It could be due to split teeth, where a crack in the tooth which starts from the bottom reaches all the way up to the gum. In extreme cases, the tooth might be separated into two parts. Cusp fractures or cracks that often happen near a filling damage the surface enamel; it is less painful as it does not extend into the internal pulp of the tooth.
Craze line at the tiny cracks are generally present on the enamel surface and is painless and requires no treatment. Another case is that of a root fracture. In this case, the crack starts to enter the gum line. It is rarely symptomatic, but extraction might be required.
What Causes a Cracked Tooth in a Child?
Kids love to play and explore their surroundings. However, their excitement and energy can get them into problems. Falling while playing can lead to minor injuries and when they fall on face, their teeth might break. Let’s see what are the other causes of a cracked tooth in a child.
1. Undeveloped Motor Skills
Children, particularly those who are under the age of 2 are at a stage when their motor skills are developing. During their attempts to walk and move around, falling or stumbling is common, which often leads to chipped or broken milk teeth.
2. Contact Sports
Participating in contact sports is one of the common causes of dental injuries. For instance, contact sports like football, boxing, hockey, wrestling, basketball, skateboarding involve risk and a player might run into another, which can lead to injuries, including a broken tooth.
Anatomical features like extending upper teeth or a protruding overbite have a higher tendency of getting damaged. These conditions fall under Class II malocclusion.
Falling in general, such as while playing in the park, climbing, or running can cause chipped or broken teeth in kids.
5. Active Behaviour
Children who are generally more active or adventurous have a higher chance of cracking their tooth than those who are introverted or shy and like to stay at home.
6. Rash Decisions in Teenage
Teenagers tend to make a rash decision; they prefer excitement and thrill as compared to younger kids. Many teenagers get dental injuries through motor accidents, physical fights, and so on.
How to Deal with a Chipped Tooth in Children
What to do if your toddler falls and chips his front tooth? The first thing is to calm your child. There are a host of treatment options available, including both medical as well as home remedies.
Medical Treatment Options
Here are some medical treatments to consider:
- If the chipped tooth is off-colour and your child is in pain, this means that the pulp tissue within the enamel has been severely damaged. In this scenario, a dentist might suggest a root canal treatment, which involves fixing the tooth from its root to its crown. In this, a dental crown is attached to hold the tooth in place.
- If the crack is in the visible part of the tooth, such as the crown, a simple dental filling or tooth restoration will be sufficient. Here, there will be no discolouration or pain. The dentist may even add a dental cap to improve the structural integrity and the appearance of the tooth.
- For a chipped or cracked tooth, a dental filling that resembles the colour of the tooth can be added to hide the cracked line in the enamel.
- In case the breakage cannot be hidden by filling or restoration, the dentist might opt for a veneer to camouflage the tooth. This process is more extensive than the others but offers cosmetic benefits.
Here are a few home remedies you can try.
- Lime: Lime is a great remedy for tooth pain caused due to tooth breakage. Slice the lime in half and gently apply the juice where it hurts.
- Salt Water: Use warm salt water to rinse your child’s mouth. This prevents infection. You can make the solution with one teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Make sure to rinse your child’s mouth with warm salt water after mealtime.
- Cold Compress: Placing a cold compress on the gum area works well if the breakage is accompanied by swelling and pain.
- Garlic Clove: A garlic clove or a combination of garlic and clove oil works wonders to relieve pain when placed on the affected tooth.
Preventive Tips for Broken Tooth
You can’t prevent all the injuries of your child. However, with a few tips, you can ensure that they don’t experience anything too severe.
The most common cause of chipped or cracked teeth is not paying attention to children. Young children need constant supervision, especially when they indulge in energetic activities like playtime or sports. Accidents can be avoided by allowing your kids to play in a regulated environment.
Dental trauma due to sports and athletics requires the use of safety equipment. For instance, using a mouth guard when participating in contact sports like football, martial arts, or boxing is quite essential to avoid dental damage. These mouth protection devices are plastic splints that fit on the teeth and support them from outside.
Childproof your home, especially if your little ones are learning to walk and play. This includes the addition of corner guards to avoid bumping, staircase gates to prevent nasty falls, and carpeted rooms to soften any impacts. You can also set up guards over windows and doors to avoid any accidents.
When to Consult a Doctor
You may have to consult a dentist if:
- You can see the internal pulp through the cracked tooth, meaning the damage has been extensive.
- You feel that your child has or may get a tooth infection.
- A permanent tooth has been knocked out entirely, as it can be reattached if you seek immediate attention.
- The chipped part of the tooth has a sharp edge, which can cut the tongue or roof of the mouth.
As long as you follow the important tips outlined in this article, you have no need to be concerned about the broken teeth. In fact, you can use this chance to teach your child to be more responsible and safe.
Also Read: Tooth Decay in Children