Kids & Broken Front Teeth

Stephanie L. Aldrich, DDS

by Stephanie L. Aldrich, DDS | August 17, 2010 @ 10:00AM

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kidsAs we all know, most kids, especially boys, act as though they're related to Evel Knievel. What happens when your child has fallen off her bicycle or has missed a ball in little league and has smashed his face? You first look for any signs of blood and broken bones, but do you notice what their teeth look like after such an event? In many instances, a severe blow to the facial area is all that is needed to fracture teeth, primarily front or central incisors. The following tips can be used to help you and your family dentist decide the course of treatment.

  1. Is there any pain involved with the front teeth? Initially, everything hurts, but a quick evaluation can determine the severity of the fracture. Is there any blood in the area? Are the teeth loose or mobile? If the child is between 2-6 years of age, these front teeth are more than likely baby teeth. If bleeding or mobility is visible, call your dentist immediately. Waiting in these instances can result in infections and possible tooth loss in the future. If there is no bleeding or mobility and the child is over 6 years of age and has his/her permanent front teeth, then waiting a few days to get an appointment would be all right.
  2. If you see there's a chip in the central tooth and it looks awful, jagged, rough to the tongue, don't worry, there are options to take. Make an appointment and tell your dentist the nature of the accident. The dentist will take an x-ray to make sure the tooth looks healthy. If the dentist sees an infection starting in the tooth, the child will need root canal therapy. This means that the tooth will be opened, the nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth will be taken out, and the tooth is dead, but still functional. When a force is severe, sometimes the nerve of the tooth dies and causes an infection to occur. The infection will clear up after root canal therapy is done.
  3. If the child is under 16 years of age, the best option to take is to do composites, or tooth-colored resins. If the child broke a tooth once, he or she is likely to repeat the activity that got him/her in this mess. This can get quite expensive and insurance companies may not cover this injury if it reoccurs in a short amount of time. A crown (aka a cap) or a veneer can be done for those 16 and older. Older kids are not as daring and the pulps or nerves of their front teeth are not as big and vulnerable as the younger children.
  4. Whether your child has tooth-colored resins, veneers, or crowns on their front teeth, that child has to be careful when eating. They can no longer bite into hoagies, corn on the cob, or apples. These materials are very fragile and can break under biting conditions.

Depending on the area that you're from, tooth-colored resins can cost between $100-225, a veneer between $450-900, and a crown between $550-1000. Not cheap. But as long as the child knows his/her eating limits, frequent check-ups are done, and mouth guards are worn for sports,restorations last for years. Another tip, no matter what kind of restoration is done, bleaching kits will not change their color. Bleaching only changes the color of real teeth.

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