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Safeguarding Your Child's Smile

I wish I could tell you there was a foolproof way to protect your child from ever chipping his tooth or damaging his smile but there is no way to prevent child's play and accidents are inevitable. Each day my three-year-old son is pushing limits, jumping higher, running further and faster. It's a bittersweet time for me as a mother because I'm excited to see him grow but I must accept that I can't control every action and every boundary. I'm thankful for the safety improvements of modern play facilities and I'm also comforted by the advancements in cosmetic dentistry. So what should you do if your child takes a fall?

1. In the event of facial trauma, be sure to have your child evaluated by a healthcare professional. Baby teeth may become loose or even lost from injury and it is important to also inform the dentist of such incidents. 

2. At the dental visit, x-rays may be necessary and treatment such as extraction may also be recommended. Of course parents worry that premature baby tooth loss can affect adult smiles. However, your child's front teeth typically exfoliate around age six and are already becoming loose in the arch around age five. I knocked out my front tooth when I was four and my older sister teased me for years. It wasn't until dental school, that I realized most young school age children have goofy smiles. 

3. When adult teeth are affected, there are a wide range of restorative dental procedures that can help rejuvenate your child's smile ranging from bonded fillings to root canals, crowns and even implants. Your dentist may suggest certain procedures immediately and others later down the road after full arch development has completed.

4. To minimize dental trauma during sports, the American Dental Association recommends that school age children wear sportsguards during organized athletic activities. These can be purchased over the counter or customized by a dental laboratory. Consult with your dentist about which type is best for your family.

Playtime is for fun and a broken tooth can be fixed. In the best case, play cautiously, practice good oral care at home, and visit your dentist every six months for check-ups.