Besides tooth caries and misaligned teeth, very few children make it through to childhood without MOUTH INJURIES. The appearance of teeth in children brings with it a whole set of problems. While some are predictable, some others aren’t.
Mouth injuries, even the most gory ones need immediate and good treatment to avoid any permanent kind of damage. While home treatment often suffices, medical intervention is required in certain extreme cases. Below is all what you need to know to differentiate between the two.
How do Mouth Injuries Occur?
Besides scraped knees and head bumps, cuts and bleeding on lips and inside of the mouth is very common in children. Mouth tissues are soft, and often a fall or hit pushes them against hard bones of the jaw or even the teeth. In addition, slip ups, tumbles, crawling are all activities where a child’s mouth is exposed, leading to cuts and bruising.
How to Treat Mouth Injuries?
Oral injuries in children look much worse than they actually are. Because the mouth and areas in the face and head are suffuse with blood vessels, even a tiny cut can cause excessive bleeding, with the exact location becoming difficult to pinpoint. Often mouth injuries are minor and the crying bouts of the child are more out of fear than actual injury.
The below steps will help you handle any kind of mouth injury in a calm manner, reduce bleeding, minimize the pain and prevent infection.
- Stop the Bleeding – If the bleeding is from the outer lip or tongue, apply gentle pressure on the area with a clean moist cloth for a while. If inner lip bleeds, press the area gently against the child’s teeth/gums.
- Distract the child during cleaning- Sing, talk or soothe the child in whichever way you can. Any treatment needs a child to sit still.
- Keep the area cool – Numbing the pain and reducing the swelling are first priority. Apply an ice pack or frozen veggies on the area. Sucking a Popsicle is also a great idea.
- Painkiller – These should be given only when the child is unable to bear the pain for long, usually under advice from the pediatric dentist
- Change diet temporarily – Although often superficial, lip cuts or injuries can be very painful. It is better to change the diet for children to liquid or semi-solid till the wound heals. Softer diets help healing faster and don’t tend to irritate. Chilled treats such as Popsicle or ice cream, and a mouth rinse after food will take care of dental hygiene too for a while.
WHEN IS PAEDIATRIC DENTIST INTERVENTION NECESSARY?
- When bleeding is very heavy, continuous and uncontrolled, and doesn’t stop despite applying pressure and ice.
- When the cut is too deep or too wide
- When a rusted or dirt filled object has caused the wound
- When there is dirt or mud in the wound
- When a puncture wound caused due to pen/pencil gets into the roof of the mouth, or hurts deeper tissues of the jaw
- When the wound is caused by bite of an animal
- If there is suspicion of bone injury, swelling of the jaw, locked jaw, broken or impacted tooth
- Any inflammatory changes such as redness, swelling, pain, fever that lasts for more than a day
It is very common for children to have mouth injuries, almost like a rite of passage in childhood. The right kind of treatment immediately, with moral support and without anxiety will help them recover faster.