As parents, we anticipate the occasional scraped knee or bump on the head. What we don't anticipate is an injury that leaves our child upset, bleeding, and missing a tooth. It can be hard not to panic if you find yourself in this situation, but the good news is that if you can stay calm, think clearly, and contact our office right away, we will be able to take care of your child and give them the help they need to ensure the best outcome possible.
What to Do When a Baby Tooth Is Knocked Out
Because baby teeth don't have the long root of a permanent tooth, they can be easy to knock out during a traumatic injury. We don't replace baby teeth that have been knocked out because it could damage the permanent tooth that is developing beneath it, so your main concern in this scenario should be making sure there are no other injuries to your child and stopping the bleeding. You can have your child bite down on a clean washcloth soaked in cold water as a compress in the area of the lost tooth to reduce swelling and stop bleeding.
Once you’ve had a chance to assess the situation give our office a call. We may have your child come in for a visit to check on any other teeth that may have been damaged or to assess any injuries to the lips or gum tissues.
What to Do When a Permanent Tooth Is Knocked Out
A traumatic injury is more complicated when it's a permanent tooth that has been knocked out. However, it’s just as important to stay calm and assess the situation before taking the following steps:
- The first priority when a permanent tooth is lost is placing it back in the socket if possible. You should pick up the tooth by the crown (the part of the tooth you usually see in the mouth), not the root. If it has become dirty, gently rinse it with water but do not wipe it excessively. Then, gently push it back into the socket if possible. Have your child bite on a piece of paper towel or washcloth to help hold the tooth in place until they can see one of our pediatric dentists.
If you are unable to reimplant the tooth right away, place the tooth in a cup of cold milk and contact our office as soon as possible to come in for an emergency visit. The sooner you can get to our office the better because the chances of saving the tooth decline the longer it is out of its socket.
- Important Note! If you don’t have milk available do NOT use water! The best alternative to milk is storing the tooth in a cup of your child’s saliva.
- Your child can bite on a cold washcloth to help control any swelling or bleeding that has occurred from the trauma.
- Call our office immediately to let us know what has happened so we can schedule you for an emergency visit to assess the situation and provide the best care for your child.