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What to do if your Child Knocks out or Cracks a Tooth

Kid knocks out or cracks tooth - kid holding tooth

Understanding what to do in a dental emergency will help you be prepared for when the worst can happen, your child cracking or chipping a tooth or ugh, getting a tooth knocked out.  No matter how big or small the accident is, having your child examined by a dentist a soon as possible is the best course of action. There is always a possibility that something happened that you may not be able to see, additional issues below the surface to the surrounding teeth or jaw.

There will be times that your child may not even notice or be in pain, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue that needs to be fixed or should have you put off being seen.  There will be other times if a large part of the tooth has been chipped or if the tooth is knocked out altogether, it can be painful for them.

Here are a few Steps if your Child Chips or Breaks a Tooth:

  • Contact your child’s dentist right away
  • Rinse their mouth with water
  • Put a cold compress on the face to reduce swelling
  • If at all possible, bring the tooth fragment with you when you come to the office

If the tooth that is knocked out is a baby tooth, never try to replant it, this can cause damage to the permanent tooth behind it. Instead, schedule a visit to your pediatric dentist as soon as possible and bring the tooth with if you. 

If the knocked-out tooth is a permanent tooth, you should rinse it off carefully to ensure it is clean and try to replace it in the mouth as quickly as possible, call your dentist immediately to see how quickly you can be seen.

How to Temporarily Replant a Knocked out Tooth

These instructions should only be used if the tooth knocked out is a permanent tooth, not a baby tooth.

  1. Find the tooth, make sure you pick it up by the crown (the widest part of the tooth). Make sure you avoid touching the root of the tooth.
  2. If the tooth is dirty, rinse the tooth very gently in cold water for 10 seconds. Do not scrub it or use and soap, just water.
  3. Gently place the tooth back in its socket, then have your child bite down gently on a clean piece of gauze or a clean washcloth.
  4. If you are not able to replant the tooth, place it in a clean container and keep it moist until you can get to your dentist. If you have it on hand, the best liquid to put a tooth in is a special tooth-preservation product called Save-A-Tooth. If you do not have this handy, use cold milk, saliva, a saline solution, or water. 
  5. Seek dental care immediately. If it is a night or weekend call a 24 hour emergency dentist.

The best chance for the survival of the tooth is to replant it or place it in one of the above liquids within about five minutes of it being knocked out.  You need to act fast and be prepared (and know what to do) in the case your child knocks out one of their permanent teeth.

It is hard to prevent every stumble, fall, or sports injury.  However, be as prepared as possible and ensure that your child wears a mouth guard when playing sports and you know what to do in case the worst happens and your child’s tooth gets knocked out.