Dental Trauma: Prevention and First Aid

NB Dental – Brisbane Dentist

Two regular yellow and green moulded sports gum guards on an isolated background

There is nothing quite as frightening for a parent, as a phone call from the school or sporting club to say that your child has been injured. Injuries to the face and mouth can be very painful, not to mention expensive. As your local, Brisbane dentist, we have noticed an increase in the number of kids presenting with trauma to their teeth and mouths due to sporting and playground accidents.  The good news is there are several things you can do to prevent an injury, and knowledge of early first aid in the event of a dental injury could go a long way to save a tooth.


If your child is participating in a sport where there is a risk of contact to the face, the only way to prevent, or reduce the severity of an injury, is to wear a mouthguard. It is preferable that they wear a custom fitted mouthguard (made by a dentist) which will be safer and more comfortable than a store-bought, prefabricated mouthguard (chemist, sports stores). The mouthguard works by absorbing the shock experienced by the blow to the face.

It is important that they have the mouthguard before they start training for the sport, as most accidents that we see, happen during training.

A short 15 minute appointment at your dentist is all that is required to take a mould of your child’s mouth. It then takes a week for the mouthguard to be made. Private health insurance will cover a substantial percentage of the cost involved.

Children’s mouths are growing and changing all of the time, and the mouthguard that fitted snugly last season, may not fit anymore. Have your mouthguard checked and fitted before every sporting season and be aware, that the mouthguard may need to be replaced annually while your child is growing.

What to do in the event of an injury:

First Aid of an Adult Tooth that has been knocked out:

  • Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
  • If the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it. The supervising Adult should replant the tooth, ensuring it is facing the right direction. The child is then to bite on a handkerchief or tissue to hold it in position.
  • If this is not possible, place the tooth in a suitable storage medium, e.g. a glass of milk. If the child is old enough that they will not swallow the tooth, it can be transported in the mouth, keeping it between the back molars and the inside of the cheek. Do not store in water. Seek immediate treatment with a dental practitioner. The tooth will have a better chance of lasting the sooner it can replanted in position

(The Dental Trauma Guide

If the injury is to a baby tooth then it is best to not replant the tooth. Wash the injuries with running water. Keep pressure on the area with some cotton wool or a tissue to try and stop the bleeding. Seek immediate treatment with your local Brisbane dentist.

Any bump to the mouth:

Despite no obvious permanent damage, a simple bump to the mouth can result in damage and possible death to the nerve inside a tooth. This concern may not necessarily become apparent for some months or years after however can result in discolouration of the tooth and a terrible toothache. It is always a good idea to visit your local Brisbane dentist and have a dental practitioner have a look after any trauma to a mouth.

A chip to a tooth after an injury should also be checked.  Exposure of the different layers of a tooth can cause quite an amount of discomfort, particularly if the tooth is bleeding. The dentist can place a protective cover over the chipped area to reduce the sensitivity. The dentist will also check for any possible long term damage to the teeth and surrounding tissues.