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What to Do If Your Child Chips a Tooth

Posted on April 09, 2021

You are at a little league baseball game. Suddenly there is a pop fly to your child in left field; Oops the ball goes through the glove and glances off their teeth. After a few tears and some bad jokes, you notice that there is a distinct chip in your five-year-old’s front tooth. Fifty percent of children will suffer some sort of dental trauma as they grow up. Your child can be a baby, a toddler, or of school age.  So what do you do?

What to Do If Your Child Chips a Tooth

  1. Stay calm: Your child has suffered mild trauma, physically and emotionally. It is imperative that you impart a feeling of security, clear thinking, and comfort. Turn the emotional flame down.
  2. Assess the situation: Is it just the tooth, how much of the tooth, is there bleeding from the tooth or surrounding tissues, is there swelling, is their pain. Can the child go home, does he need to see a pediatric dentist or does he need the Emergency room in a hospital.
  3. Pressure: Apply with gentle pressure by having the child bite into a piece of gauze if there is any bleeding
  4. Reduce swelling: Apply ice to the area to keep down swelling. Ten minutes on, ten minutes off. Frozen green peas are a good alternative to ice cubes.
  5. Place the tooth in milk: Look for any large pieces of the tooth and place them in milk. In some cases, the dentist can rebond the large piece back to the original tooth. Another thing we can do in turning a negative into a positive is to put the child in charge of the vial of milk with the piece of tooth. This allows him to feel that he is part of the process of making himself well. It’s a great learning tool.
  6. Swish water in mouth: Rinse their mouth very gently to remove any small chips or debris so that the child does not inadvertently swallow it.
  7. Pain medication: If there are no contraindications you may give the child, children’s ibuprofen or Tylenol. If there is a need for analgesic medication.

Going to the Pediatric Dentist at 209 NYC Dental

It is important to see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. 209 NYC Dental is open SEVEN days a week. We have an excellent system in place to bring in dental emergencies quickly and efficiently. There are different treatment options available depending upon the severity of the chip.

  1. Very, very small chip: We will simply smooth and polish the tooth
  2. Small to medium-sized chip: We will use a composite resin (tooth-colored material) to be placed over the defect, bonded in place with a light, and then polished and smoothed. This is the most common treatment.
  3. Large defect, the nerve is not involved: We will fabricate a crown or porcelain veneer, specifically made for a child’s tooth. We are aware that this baby tooth will fall out on its own in a couple of years.
  4. Very large defect exposing the nerve (usually see bleeding from the center of the tooth): At this point, we will perform a pediatric root canal on the tooth and then cover it with a crown.
  5. Tooth is broken, beyond repair: We will discuss the need for extraction and possible space maintainer.

After treatment is completed we would like the child to be on a soft diet for a week. We want you to watch for any swelling in the gum above the chipped tooth or any complaints that your child might have.

If permanent teeth are damaged on a youngster we prefer to restore the tooth with resin. We do not recommend placing a crown on a permanent (adult) tooth until your child has grown up.

Lost Tooth Prevention

  • Going to our office for periodic exams, cleanings, and fluoride treatments.
  • If playing contact sports, consider wearing an occlusal guard

Make an Appointment with 209 NYC Dental

Bumps, bruises, and chipped teeth are part of growing up. Our team of devoted, gentle dentists is here to make your child’s journey into adulthood a very smooth transition. Call us at 212-355-2290 for routine or emergency care. We are here for you!


About Dr. Ben Ifraimov

Dr. Ben Ifraimov is a top cosmetic and restorative dentist in New York City, providing the highest caliber of care for his patients at 209 NYC Dental in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan. Dr. Ifraimov has extensive training in all areas of dentistry, providing the most advanced treatments for an array of oral health issues, including implant restorations, crowns and bridges, porcelain veneers and onlays, cosmetic bonding and Zoom whitening, as well as routine cleaning and examination, gum disease care and treatment, and treatment of dental emergencies.

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