Your toddler fell flat on their face and their gums are bleeding. What should you do now?
Calm your child down and inspect them for any other injuries, says Dr Tang Kok Siew, associate consultant at Division of Paediatric Dentistry at National University Hospital.
If you suspect a serious head injury or other more urgent bodily injuries, head to the hospital’s emergency department.
Common causes of bleeding gums following a fall include damage to the surrounding root of the tooth, and laceration to the gums or surrounding soft tissue.
To stop the bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean damp cloth or gauze. Then take your child to the nearest dental clinic to have a proper examination and treatment.
After a knock to the teeth, there may be soreness in the gum area around the injured teeth, which may not be visible from the outside. This may be due to the impact around the root of the tooth, giving rise to either a concussion, mobility, displacement or a root fracture.
That’s why any slight pressure, such as touching or biting the teeth together, may cause some tenderness, Dr Tang explains.
This soreness may last for a few days, so try to feed your toddler soft food to prevent aggravating the pain further.
But what if a tooth chipped off or turned black after the trauma?
If there are chips or a tooth has broken, the dentist will assess if any filling or nerve treatment is required. Sometimes the chip or fracture can be major, so the affected tooth needs to be extracted.
An injured tooth may darken over the following weeks or months and not be noticeable so soon after the trauma.
If the tooth has turned black overtime, don’t panic. A discoloured traumatised tooth can be due to a few reasons, such as the breakdown of the blood vessels in the tooth, resulting in the tooth becoming “dead”.
Again, visit your dentist so he can diagnose and advise on the possible treatment options, Dr Tang reminds.
Occasionally, a darkened tooth that is otherwise asymptomatic may continue to persist over the years and deflect the path of the permanent successor tooth.
That’s why it is important to follow up regularly with the dentist after a dental trauma to manage possible future complications.
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