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What to Do About a Knocked-Out Tooth

Even with diligent supervision and care, accidents can happen to the best of us, especially curious children. A blow to the face or other incident might create impact trauma that may make a tooth fall out of its socket.

Children typically will lose their baby teeth. But if they knock out one of their primary teeth, you should still contact a dentist to ensure they did not sustain other dental damage. However, they will not need the baby tooth replaced.

But if the child loses a permanent adult tooth, you will need to take prompt action if you want to try to save the tooth and put it back in their mouth. You can feel confident in the steps to take when you know what to do ahead of this dental emergency. So read on to learn more about what to do in the event of a knocked-out tooth.

urgent dental care for pediatric patients

Steps to Take If a Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth

Preserve the Tooth as Well as Possible

If a child loses a permanent tooth, collect it as soon as possible. Make sure you handle the tooth from its crown rather than the root. The root contains sensitive nerves that could suffer more damage if you touch it.

If the tooth is dirty, from touching the ground, for instance, you can gently rinse it with milk. You might use water if milk is not readily available. Do not rub at the tooth with a cloth or other item though, as this could result in more damage.

The tooth will need to remain moist to preserve it, so if you can, gently place the tooth back in the socket of the child’s mouth. Do not force it into this spot, but saliva will help to keep the tooth healthy for longer.

If you worry about the child swallowing the tooth, store the tooth submerged in a cup filled with spit. You might also place it in a cup of milk or water.

Attend Emergency Dentist Appointment

Call your child’s pediatric dentist right away for the highest chance of success if they knock out a tooth. Or you can go straight to the dentist’s office, bringing the tooth with you.

Time is of the essence, so go within a half hour of the dental injury if you can. Delaying this dental attention could impede the success of this tooth restoration.

When you arrive for the appointment, the dentist will start by flushing the socket and putting the tooth there. They can keep it in place with a splint. The tooth should attach within three or four weeks, but if the tooth fractured, it may need more time to heal fully.

Make sure your child follows your dentist’s aftercare instructions so that the tooth can reattach properly. Attend any recommended follow-ups to avoid any complications. If for some reason the dentist cannot attach the tooth, they may talk to you about tooth replacement options using restorative dental treatments.