Dental care should begin by the time your child is one year old. It used to be put off for several years, but given the difficulty in finding qualified care in an emergency, having a dental home base is protection in the event of an accident. For instance, you will need to take your small child to a dentist in case one of the following should happen:
Toothaches Accompanied by Swelling
Food particles can become trapped between teeth and in gums. When food becomes impacted and is not completely cleared away, an infection can develop. An abscessed tooth is as painful and dangerous for a child as it is for an adult. Untreated infections lead to deaths every year in the United States so it is especially important to pay attention to your child’s complaints of tooth aches and not write them off as a tooth being ready to fall out.
Baby Tooth Broken or Knocked Out
While a broken or knocked out baby tooth isn’t considered an emergency at the dentist office, it is still important to seek treatment. A cracked or injured baby tooth can often be saved, though it may require a root canal and cap to do so. The location of a knocked out baby tooth may also require the use of a spacer to maintain an adequate distance between teeth while adult teeth come in.
For children who are four years and older, a flipper may be ordered to take place of the tooth. These retainer-like devices are fitted with one or more false teeth and can be helpful for developing speech and maintaining natural spacing in the mouth. Before this age, however, flippers may be more of a risk for a child than a benefit.
Broken or Knocked out Permanent Tooth
When a permanent tooth is broken or knocked out, you have a real dental emergency. A broken tooth must be immediately treated to prevent future infection, decay and loss. A tooth that has been knocked out can be reinserted in the mouth, but time is a factor.
Either of these situations requires contacting your dentist after hours if need be. Immediate treatment can prevent the loss of permanent teeth or problems with teeth and gums that can persist for years. These kinds of trauma typically take a long time and a lot of money to cure when treatment isn’t sought right away.