There are many injuries parents are well-equipped to handle, but dental trauma isn’t usually one of them. You know exactly what to do if your child cuts a finger or gets stung by a bee, but what do you do if your child knocks out a tooth?
Your natural response might be to panic, but dentists treat avulsed (or knocked out) teeth and other dental emergencies all the time. Here are the steps to take when your child knocks out a tooth so you know exactly what to do if you ever find yourself in this situation.
What to Do When a Baby Tooth Is Knocked Out
Primary teeth don’t have the same extensive root structure as adult teeth, which means they’re more likely to be knocked out after facial trauma. Avulsed baby teeth rarely lead to serious dental problems, but they can cause bleeding, pain, and plenty of tears. (You may feel like crying too!)
Remember—don’t panic. Staying calm yourself will help your child feel calmer, which will lower their blood pressure and help slow any bleeding. Have them rinse with water, then use a clean, wet washcloth or sterile gauze to put pressure on the socket until the bleeding stops. After this, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
Call our office as soon as you’re able to schedule an appointment. If you can find the knocked out tooth, save it for the tooth fairy—it can’t be put back in. Instead, Dr. Lubliner will examine your child’s mouth for soft tissue injuries and determine if a space maintainer is needed to preserve space for the adult tooth to erupt in the future.
What to Do When a Permanent Tooth Is Knocked Out
Unlike a primary tooth, a permanent or adult tooth can be put back into the socket. This means a knocked out permanent tooth is a more urgent situation, as there is only a short amount of time in which the tooth can be successfully replanted.
Follow the steps outlined above to rinse the mouth and control any bleeding. Locate the knocked out tooth if you don’t already have it; when handling it, do not touch the root. Instead, hold the tooth by the crown and use milk or water to rinse off dirt or debris. If the tooth is clean, do not rinse it.
The odds of successfully replanting the tooth are greatest if you can push it back into the socket. We realize, though, that this can be difficult with children, who may not cooperate. If you can get the tooth into the socket, have your child bite down on a clean washcloth or gauze to hold it in place; if you can’t, place it in a small cup of milk or saliva.
Call our office so we can begin making preparations for your child’s appointment. With prompt treatment, Dr. Lubliner can replant the tooth and use splints to hold it in place until the supporting structures reattach to the root.