Dental trauma prevention

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. (Dr.) Brent Sonday
  • Chief of Pediatric Dentistry
Prevention of dental trauma in children is a very important aspect of their overall health. The highest risk of trauma to children's baby teeth occurs at ages 2 to 3 when they begin moving around on their own and are developing their motor coordination.

The most common age of children having an injury to their permanent teeth occurs between ages 6 and 12 where vigorous playing and sports activities become frequent. Children falling, traffic accidents, and sports injury are the most common cause of dental trauma during their adolescent years.

One of the ways to minimize injury is to have them wear a mouth guard when playing sports. Protective mouth guards distribute the forces of impact to help minimize the overall severity of injury. Indications for mouth guard use include playing football, basketball, volleyball and soccer. Other high trauma risk activities include skateboarding, bike riding, skiing and jumping on a trampoline.

Another important aspect of dental trauma is appropriate actions to take when a dental injury occurs. If a baby tooth falls out due to trauma, the tooth should not be replanted under any circumstances. If your child has a permanent tooth fall out because of trauma, the tooth should be rinsed with water and replanted in their mouth as soon as possible.

If you are unable to replant the traumatized permanent tooth, then the tooth should be placed in cold milk and transport your child immediately to the dental clinic. Middle and high school nurses here at Yokota have a special mixture called "Save a Tooth" that the permanent tooth should be placed in while the patient is transported to the dental clinic or urgent care.

The best ways of preventing dental trauma is the wearing of protective mouth guards and keeping safety in mind when our children are involved in high risk sports and activities.

Our Yokota dental clinic has mouth guards available upon request. Please call 225-3670 or stop by the dental clinic and pick up a mouth guard for your child. Have a happy Children's Dental Health Month.