Children are famous for unleashing their energy on the playground. Accidents and injuries may occur from time to time, so the school nurse must be on standby in order to deal with the aftermath of such injuries, including dental-related emergencies.
Children suffering from toothaches or mouth-related injuries may find it extremely difficult to focus in the classroom. Therefore, the school nurse must be prepared to detect those issues at their early stages.
If these nurses are trained to check for oral health problems, then they will have the tools to recognize and document them properly.
According to a study revolving around children and dental injuries, it was revealed that one-fifth to one-third of all children are prone to dental injuries by the time they reach twelve years of age.
The possibility of further injuries continues to increase throughout adolescence. Practicing sports within the school setting made children more susceptible to dental injuries as well.
The most important thing in dealing with oral injuries is to calm the child long enough to evaluate the extent of his or her injury. Having a separate oral health kit on standby in case of emergencies is also ideal.
The following suggestions may help nurses tend to those injured children in the correct manner:
- The child is instructed to rinse his or her mouth using warm salt water. If a cavity is detected in a child’s tooth, then it is better to soak a cotton ball with Anbensol or oil of cloves to help relieve the pain. It is important to ask for the consent of the parents before administering any type of medication to their child. Their parents should also be notified immediately if an injury occurs within school grounds. It is not advisable to use aspirin on gum tissue since it will result in burning pain, but a cold compress on the other hand is a great solution for controlling the pain.
- If moderate or severe bleeding occurs due to a playground injury, apply gentle pressure using a sterile gauze until the bleeding stops. Afterwards, use a cold compress. If the child continues to bleed after fifteen minutes, then they must be taken to the dentist or emergency room.
- If a jaw fracture is suspected by the school nurse, then she should instruct the child to bite down on his teeth to assess their alignment. Stabilizing the jaw using a scarf or neck tie around the head is the next step, paired with applying a cold compress to the area. This will be a temporary fix until the child can be seen by emergency personnel.
- If a child suffers from tooth loss as a result of a playground or sports activity, then the missing tooth should be located if possible. Afterwards, the nurse should reinsert the tooth and keep it in place using a sterile gauze. If this is not possible, then it should be preserved in milk or saliva until the child reaches the dentist or emergency room.
- Canker sores can be treated with either vitamin E oil, Orabase with benzocaine or an ice pack. Injured children with braces can be treated using a tongue depressor to bend wires away from gum tissue or administer dental wax or gauze to the area.
The better equipped a school nurse is when dealing with dental emergencies, the more positive the outcome will be for the injured child.