Saturday, December 6, 2014

How to treat a child’s broken tooth during a day hike

Dental injuries on a hike most often occur during a fall.
Sometimes when hiking, dental emergencies occur with children, often as a result of a bad fall but even from something surprising such as biting down wrong on a hard nut in the trail mix.

Among the most common dental injuries is a broken tooth. To treat it, you’ll need drinking water, pain reliever, chewing gum, and a breakable ice pack. Two of the three items are on my recommended list of a first-aid kits contents while drinking water is a must on any day hiking trip.

To treat the broken tooth, first have the child rinse his mouth with drinking water to remove any debris and blood. Next, have the child take pain reliever; liquid acetaminophen such Tylenol or liquid ibuprofen is recommended. Hopefully the child has been chewing the gum before the tooth broke; if so, the gum can be shaped to fit around the sensitive nerve exposed by the break. Finally, to reduce pain, break the ice pack so it turns cold and have the child hold it against the cheek on the side of the mouth that the tooth broke; this will reduce any swelling and help relieve pain.

You then should turn back for home. Forcing a child to work through the pain only will make the hike unbearable for them and eventually for you. Once you have cell phone service, contact your dentist for further instructions.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.