What to Do When Your Child’s Tooth Gets Knocked Out

Boy in the street with injury screaming after falling off to his bicycleIt’s traumatizing for a parent: your child comes running to you, blood streaming from their mouth, after having fallen off their bike.

My wife loves to tell the story of when she fell off her bike as a child, knocking out her front tooth. The whole scene was so gruesome that my wife was the one saying, “it’s okay, Mama!” and not the other way around!

This article is everything you need to know if it’s ever you who’s watching the kids and someone knocks out a tooth.

First Aid 101: What to Do When Your Child’s Tooth Gets Knocked Out

  1. Pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root. What’s the crown? The crown is the part you bite down on. The root looks like two little legs. Never touch the root!
  1. You can place an adult tooth back in the socket, but only if you know what you’re doing.  I’ve seen teeth re-inserted facing the wrong way! Your child can bite down to hold the tooth in place. Many adult teeth have been saved this way. No need to try to reinsert a baby tooth, as this could damage the new adult tooth coming in.
  1. Call your dentist’s office and let them know you’re on your way! Either your dentist or the dentist on call should see you right away. If not, head to the emergency room at your local hospital.
  1. Ask your child to spit into your hands or a cup. This saliva is the best liquid to transport the tooth in on your way to the dentist’s office. Don’t worry if the spit is a little bloody or dirty. Get the tooth submerged in the saliva as quickly as possible. If you can’t get saliva, milk is the next best option.
  1. Don’t clean off the tooth. There might be blood, debris, or mud on it, but that’s okay. Let the dentist do this for you.

Preventing Knocked Out Teeth

Knocked out teeth aren’t like a broken bone that heals in a cast. When a child knocks out a tooth, it can turn into a lifetime of dental work into adulthood. Even though dentistry has made advances in artificial teeth, nothing beats a real tooth in your mouth.

Have your child wear a mouthguard. You make sure your child wears sunscreen so they reach adulthood with minimal skin damage; a mouthguard is no different.

Get the scissors out. I see kids open packages and even bottles using their teeth. Model for your children that teeth are for chewing and nothing else.

Mark Burhenne DDS

Dr. Burhenne is a family and sleep medicine dentist. He is dedicated to helping the world understand the connection between oral health and overall wellness through his blog, Ask the Dentist. Get Dr. Burhenne's book, The Eight Hour Sleep Paradox: How We Are Sleeping Our Way to Disease, Fatigue, and Unhappiness on Amazon.

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Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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