National Children’s Dental Health Month, Part 2

February 28, 2014





To bring Dental Health Month to a close, we’ll talk about a few emergency tooth topics for your older child.


My child sucks their thumb, what do I do??

  • Infant and young children find sucking to be soothing and will often put their finger, thumb, pacifier, or other object in their mouth.  It’s a primitive reflex, even seen in some species of monkey!
  • Most children stop by age 4 years, when they still have their baby teeth.
  • If it still continues when they have their permanent teeth, then it becomes a problem, not only for their teeth but also it’s an infection risk, with their thumbs being covered in bacteria, and their friends may begin to tease them.
  • The American Dental Association recommends:
    • Praise children for not sucking, instead of scolding them when they do.
    • If a child is sucking its thumb when feeling insecure or needing comfort, focus instead on correcting the cause of the anxiety and provide comfort to your child.
    • If a child is sucking on its thumb because of boredom, try getting the child’s attention with a fun activity.
    • Involve older children in the selection of a means to cease thumb sucking.
    • The pediatric dentist can offer encouragement to a child and explain what could happen to its teeth if it does not stop sucking.
    • Only if these tips are ineffective, remind the child of its habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock/glove on the hand at night.

My child got hit in the face and their tooth is knocked out, now what?

  • First, find the tooth! Handle it carefully; try not to touch the root.
  • If it’s clean, place it back in the socket.  Have your child bite on a piece of gauze to keep it in place.
  • Rinse it with water if it’s dirty, but no soap, no scrubbing, and no drying!  If it cannot go back into the socket, place it in milk or, if your child is old enough not to swallow it, between their cheek and gums.  Do not place in tap water!
  • Then call your dentist right away!  Most teeth can be saved if seen, ideally, in less than 30 minutes.

What if my child chips their tooth?

  • Rinse their mouth with warm water- cold water will feel worse on any exposed root!
  • Put a cold compress against the chipped area or on the face to help with swelling and pain.
  • Then call your dentist!

For more information about dental emergencies, click here:



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