Broken Tooth in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A tooth can be chipped, broken, or knocked out during sports or a bad fall.

The doctor may have fixed your child's tooth temporarily. Your child also may have been given pain medicine. If there were signs of infection, your child may need to take antibiotics.

Your child will need to see a dentist. If your child has chipped a tooth, it may be jagged, which can irritate the mouth and tongue. The dentist may smooth the edges and fill in the part that chipped off. A permanent tooth that has been knocked out can be put back in (reimplanted) if it is done quickly. The dentist may need to put a crown on a broken tooth to cover the tooth and hold it together. Prompt dental treatment can often prevent infection in the tooth.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • To relieve pain and swelling, have your child put ice or a cold cloth on the tooth's gum or cheek area, or suck on a piece of ice. But if the tooth's nerve or pulp is exposed, avoid putting anything too hot or cold near the tooth until your child sees the dentist.
  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics, give them to your child as directed. Do not stop giving them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • To help healing, have your child rinse with warm salt water right after meals. To make a saltwater solution, mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Have your child eat soft foods that are easy to chew.
  • Avoid foods that might sting, such as salty or spicy foods, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
  • If the tooth is loose, be gentle when you brush or floss. Have your child gently brush at least two times a day and floss at least once a day.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain or swelling in the mouth.
    • Red streaks leading from the gum tissue around the tooth.
    • Pus draining from the area around the tooth.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has pain and swelling after chipping or breaking a tooth.
  • Your child has bleeding near a tooth.
  • Your child is not able to open or close his or her mouth normally.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child's tooth is sensitive to heat, cold, air, or sweets.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: August 9, 2016