Having a tooth knocked out or chipped can be very traumatic for a child and should be taken seriously. In many cases, the tooth can be saved, but this is a dental emergency so phone your dentist immediately. While you wait to see your dentist, take steps to help preserve the tooth and increase the chances of saving it. To find out what to do when your child loses a tooth accidentally, read below.
Stay Calm and Take Action
Your child can pick up on any anxiety from you so remain calm and try to keep your child calm too. After phoning your dentist and getting an emergency appointment, take the following actions:
- Locate the tooth if it has been knocked out.
- Have your child rinse their mouth with room temperature water. In many cases, a knocked-out tooth will cause some bleeding and children can get upset with the taste of blood in their mouths.
- Use a cool wet cloth and apply as a compress to the area of the jaw if they are in pain. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the jaw may be damaged and the dentist will need to X-ray it. For example, if your child was hit with a baseball bat and lost a tooth, there is a chance the jaw could be broken too.
- Holding the tooth by the crown, carefully and gently rinse the tooth off. Do not remove any root or gum tissue from the tooth.
Replacing a Tooth
If the child is old enough to keep the tooth in their mouth, place it back in the empty spot. If the tooth was a baby tooth, however, don't try to replace it in their mouth. For a permanent tooth, take the following actions to preserve the tooth for later re-implantation by your dentist:
- After gently rinsing the tooth in cold water, replace the tooth in your child's mouth on top of the empty socket. Using a clean piece of gauze or cloth, have your child gently close their teeth and bite the gauze or cloth.
Preserve Without Replacing
If you cannot place the tooth back in your child's mouth, keep it safe until you see the dentist. Place the tooth in a small, clean container (such as a food storage container with a lid). Along with the tooth, use cold milk, saline/water, or plain water to preserve it and to keep the tooth wet. If you have access to a pharmacy, tooth preservation kits can be purchased. They often come complete with a small container to hold the tooth.
In many cases, your dentist can re-implant the tooth. To find out more, speak to your child's dentist.