Palmetto Parent 2010 August issue : Page 27

Unlocking the Minds WHY DOES MY CHILD STRUGGLE TUTORING, Discovery Program of SC utilizes educational tools to provide interventions (K5-Adult) that address the foundational issues causing diffi culties with learning... WITH ACADEMICS? HOWcan my child learn HOWto learn? BEYOND Struggling Learners. Don’t panic! What you need to know and do if your child has a dental emergency Ryan Ezekiel brushes his teeth with his spinning toothbrush. Last year, he suffered a dental injury while running to get a toy under a table. Story by Rebecca Howerton ] Photos by Cindy Hosea W hen Tanya Ezekiel of Lexington picked up her son Ryan, 3, from day care one day last fall, the care-giver told her he’d had an accident earlier in the day. Ryan had cried off and on through the afternoon, but the day-care staff didn’t see any obvious injuries. “He was running to get a toy under a table, and he didn’t duck quite low enough, so he hit his mouth on the edge the table,” Ezekiel said. “He seemed fine until he was in the bathtub playing and smiled. Then I noticed his teeth were crooked; one was bent back and he had chipped another tooth.” Since Ryan wasn’t bleeding and didn’t seem to be in pain, Ezekiel and her hus-band, John, left a message for their dentist August 2010 and neighbor,Dr. Jim Curtis, who arranged to see Ryan first thing the next morning. Because his teeth weren’t knocked out, watchful waiting was all that was needed, Ezekiel said. “Dr. Curtis told us to watch for anything out of the ordinary, such as not wanting to eat, that might be a sign of an abscess,” she said. The Ezekiel’s response was appropriate, according to Curtis, director of Palmetto Health Dental Center. He said the most common dental emergencies he sees come in two types: trauma to permanent or baby teeth, and toothaches or abscesses that occur secondary to tooth decay. In the case of trauma, Curtis said parents should remain calm. “The first thing is not to panic,” he said. www.palmettoparent.com 803-419-0126 1 Windsor Cove, Suite 103 Columbia, SC 29223 donnaweston@discoveryprogramsc.org www.discoveryprogramsc.org Palmetto Parent 27 1860 of

Don’t panic!

Rebecca Howerton

<font size=3>What you need to know — and do — if your child has a dental emergency</font><br /> <br /> <br /> When Tanya Ezekiel of Lexington picked up her son Ryan, 3, from day care one day last fall, the caregiver told her he’d had an accident earlier in the day.<br /> <br /> Ryan had cried off and on through the afternoon, but the day-care staff didn’t see any obvious injuries. <br /> <br /> “He was running to get a toy under a table, and he didn’t duck quite low enough, so he hit his mouth on the edge the table,” Ezekiel said. “He seemed fine until he was in the bathtub playing and smiled. Then I noticed his teeth were crooked; one was bent back and he had chipped another tooth.”<br /> <br /> Since Ryan wasn’t bleeding and didn’t seem to be in pain, Ezekiel and her husband, John, left a message for their dentist and neighbor, Dr. Jim Curtis, who arranged to see Ryan first thing the next morning.<br /> <br /> Because his teeth weren’t knocked out, watchful waiting was all that was needed, Ezekiel said.<br /> <br /> “Dr. Curtis told us to watch for anything out of the ordinary, such as not wanting to eat, that might be a sign of an abscess,” she said.<br /> <br /> The Ezekiel’s response was appropriate, according to Curtis, director of Palmetto Health Dental Center. He said the most common dental emergencies he sees come in two types: trauma to permanent or baby teeth, and toothaches or abscesses that occur secondary to tooth decay.<br /> <br /> In the case of trauma, Curtis said parents should remain calm.<br /> <br /> “The first thing is not to panic,” he said. “If a tooth is knocked out, find the tooth. If it’s a baby tooth, you can put it under the child’s pillow. If it’s permanent, pick it up by the crown, not the root, and rinse it under tap water. Do not scrub the tooth. Insert it back into the hole where it came from. If this can be done within a few minutes, it’s usually not particularly uncomfortable to the child.”<br /> <br /> For a permanent tooth where the root is not completely formed, this may allow the nerve to reattach and the blood supply to reestablish, and may preserve the ligament cells that connect the root to the jawbone. If the ligament cells dry out, it’s likely that the child will need follow-up care, Curtis said.<br /> <br /> If the tooth can’t be put it back in due to other injuries, fear of causing more damage or because the child is hysterical, it may help to keep the tooth in a cup of milk until receiving treatment, he said. <br /> <br /> Curtis advised contacting the child’s regular dentist and attempting to have the child seen as quickly as possible. If it is necessary to go to the emergency room for treatment, Curtis said emergency room doctors are trained to put teeth back in.<br /> <br /> “If you’re within the ‘golden window’ of about 30 minutes to put a permanent tooth back in, the outlook is very good,” he said. “Within an hour you have about an 80 percent chance of saving the tooth. If it’s more than an hour it drops dramatically, to about 20 percent.”<br /> <br /> Curtis said even if the tooth is saved, there is no way of knowing how long it will remain healthy. <br /> <br /> “We would like to be as precise as possible about what’s going to happen in the future, but we don’t have a crystal ball,” he said. “If a tooth is knocked out at age 8, we can’t promise it will be there at age 18.”<br /> <br /> But if the tooth remains for even a few of the critical growth years, many dentists believe it is worth the effort to save it, he said. <br /> <br /> “Teeth are important for the development of the jawbone,” he said. “If the teeth roots aren’t there, you can have both cosmetic and functional issues.”<br /> <br /> Even teeth that are not knocked out, such as Ryan’s, need to be monitored. <br /> <br /> “A tooth has a nerve system and blood vessels enclosed in a hard case, just like the brain,” Curtis said. “If it suffers a ‘concussion,’ you can have problems down the road.”<br /> <br /> For the second type of dental emergency, abscess related to tooth decay, it is equally important to seek treatment without delay.<br /> <br /> “Tooth decay is the second most common illness that afflicts mankind, after the common cold,” Curtis said. “Children miss more school from toothaches than from asthma.”<br /> <br /> If a child complains of swelling of the lower jaw or under the eye, the problem is no longer confined to the teeth has likely begun to spread. Although it is very rare, a tooth abscess can spread to the nose and become a brain abscess, he said.<br /> <br /> Fortunately, Curtis said, with proper hygiene and regular dental care, most children can avoid tooth decay. He recommends parents take their children for their first dental visits at about six months or before the first tooth erupts, and no later than one year.<br /> <br /> “Children are born cavity free,” he said. “If we see them early, we can help them grow up cavity free.”

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