Getting a tooth knocked out can be scary, especially when it happens to your child. The first and perhaps the most important thing you should when it happens is to stay calm and reassure the child that everything is okay. Your reaction will influence their reaction, so don’t panic! If you stay calm, cool and collected, and follow these next few steps everything will go just fine. So, let’s get to it and talk about what you should do if your child’s tooth gets knocked out:
Locate the tooth
Often when a child’s tooth gets knocked out, the parent becomes so overwhelmed with the bleeding and trying to calm the child down that they forget to even find the tooth! Locating the tooth is extremely important because:
- You want to make sure your child has not swallowed the tooth or that it is still stuck somewhere in their mouth.
- The tooth may be able to be replanted, so it is vital that you find it as soon as possible to it doesn’t get damaged, lost or dirty.
Is it a baby tooth or a permanent tooth?
Once you have the tooth, determine whether it’s a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. Getting a baby tooth knocked out is much less serious than getting a permanent tooth knocked out. If it is a baby tooth call your dentist and set up an appointment with them. It doesn’t have to be immediate but try to see them as soon as they are available. Getting a baby tooth knocked out is not as serious because eventually a new one will grow in, but you still want to visit your dentist for other reasons that we will discuss later.
If it is a permanent tooth your child must be seen by a dentist immediately. If your dentist is unavailable, or if you notice your child has other injuries in their mouth or on their face bring them to the emergency room. There is still no reason to panic, but they should be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible because losing a permanent tooth could cause long-term damage.
What should I do with the tooth?
You must be very careful when you are handling the tooth. The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide states that you should never touch the root of the tooth when you are handling it. So, while holding the tooth by the crown (the part of the tooth that pokes out from your gums) rinse it in a clean container of milk, saliva, or plain water. Do not brush, scrub or dry it and do not use any cleaning chemicals.
Should I try to put it back in?
If it is an adult tooth, yes, try to gently place the tooth back into the socket. If it does not slide in easily at first, do NOT force it in. Do not try to do this if it is a baby tooth, this could damage permanent tooth that is growing in underneath. If the tooth does not go back into the socket or if it is a baby tooth, place it in a clean container of one of the liquids mentioned before. Saliva is the best way to keep it clean and healthy, but most people use milk and it works just as well. Meanwhile, control the bleeding by holding a sterile piece of gauze on the open socket and applying slight pressure.
What happens next?
When you get to your dentist, they will let you know what your next best move is. If it was a baby tooth that got knocked out, your dentist may suggest to just let it be and wait until the permanent tooth grows in because replacing it could cause unnecessary damage. If you decide you do not need to replace the baby tooth your dentist will place a spacer where the gap is. Dentists do this when a baby tooth comes out before it was ready to to ensure that the teeth surrounding it will grow in correctly and will not shift.
If it was a permanent tooth that your child lost, and it is unable to be replanted, a prosthetic tooth will be necessary. It is important to get a replacement for the tooth because having a gap in the mouth can cause the other teeth to shift and can leave your child vulnerable to more serious issues like gum disease and tooth decay. Dental implants are a perfect option when replacing one single tooth, but if more than one is missing, they may suggest a fixed bridge or some sort of partial denture.
If your child gets their tooth knocked out, baby tooth or permanent tooth, follow these first few steps and give us a call immediately. We will take care of everything from then on and make sure your child’s smile is restored and healthy! If it is an emergency give us a call at 617-545-5220. For all non-urgent matters call us at 781-592-5919 or contact us online!