Accidents happen. Your child could be playing on the monkeybars one minute and chip a tooth the next. No matter how much you look after your child, they are going to get hurt. Bumps and scrapes are a normal part of growing up and unfortunately, so are chipped teeth. What do you do if your toddler chips a tooth?
As a parent, it’s important that you set a good example for your child. They will probably be scared because they don’t understand what it means to chip a tooth. Remain calm and gently explain to your child that they are going to be okay. A chipped tooth is only dangerous if left untreated and your child needs to know that it can be fixed.
Call your dentist
Once your child has calmed down, place a call to their pediatric dentist. This is considered a dental emergency and the dentist should be able to see you and your child that day or the next. If your child is too young to have visited a pediatric dentist before, you can call your own dentist who will be able to refer you to someone who treats kids. Your dentist may also be able to treat your child if they have pediatric dentistry training.
Find the fragments
If you can find the tooth fragments that broke off from the chip, collect them so you can bring them to the dentist. A clean chip may result in a single fragment that is easy to find. However, with severe chips you may not be able to find the fragments. Or, if your toddler has chipped his/her tooth in a public place finding the fragment may be impossible. If you cannot find the fragments, don’t panic. If you can find them, keep the fragments in a safe place like a ziploc bag or pill bottle so that you can easily bring it to the dentist.
Chipped tooth don’ts
- Don’t try and glue the fragments back onto the tooth. This is dangerous and can result in infections and upset stomach from your child accidentally ingesting the glue.
- Don’t use mouthwash to rinse your child’s mouth after they have chipped a tooth. Use only lukewarm water. Water that is too hot or too cold can hurt your toddler’s mouth.
- Don’t clean the chip or try to sand it down. Leave the chip alone, no matter how jagged it is. The dentist will take care of it.
- Don’t panic if you can’t get a dental appointment right away. Although, a chipped toddler tooth is a dental emergency, your child will still be fine if you can only get a dentist appointment the day after the chip occurs.
- Don’t serve your child solid foods until the chipped tooth is repaired. Chewing on hard foods, even if your toddler has graduated to solids, puts more strain on the chip and could make it worse.
- Don’t get mad at your child for running his/her tongue over the chipped tooth. You can tell your child not to run his/her tongue over the chip so as not to cut their tongue, but it probably won’t do any good. Children are curious by nature and even if they don’t like the weird feeling associated with running their tongue over the chip, they’re going to do it anyway.
- Don’t use a hot compress to treat swelling. Instead, put a cold compress over your child’s face to reduce swelling. Chipped teeth don’t always lead to mouth swelling so use your discretion if you feel that the cold compress is necessary.
Can chipped teeth be prevented?
Your toddler’s oral health is important. Keeping your child’s mouth healthy is easy if you know what to do. Because your toddler hasn’t had their baby teeth fall out yet, instilling a daily brushing routine is a great way to help prevent chips. Make brushing fun so that your child actually wants to do it. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and show your toddler exactly how they should be moving the toothbrush in their mouth. You can also monitor what your child is putting in their mouth. Toddler’s will put whatever’s in front of them in their mouths so make sure their toys aren’t comprised of hard edges that could chip their teeth.
However, you can’t prevent the stumbles your toddler will take as they learn to walk. These stumbles can result in chipped teeth. As long as you stay calm and keep your child calm, everything will be fine.
At Dawson Dental, we offer pediatric dentistry. If your child has chipped a tooth, contact us right away. We’ll repair the damage so you and your toddler can rest easy.