It happens millions of times a year: A child gets a tooth knocked out.
With proper emergency action, a permanent tooth that’s been knocked out of its socket can be successfully replanted, so it’s important for parents and guardians to know what to do.
Here are seven steps you should take:
1. Stay calm.
Getting a tooth knocked out can be a painful and traumatic experience. Children are very attuned to the behavior and feelings of their parents, so try to stay calm.
Count to ten, take a deep breath and tell yourself that you need to be a good role model for your child.
There’s plenty of time for freaking out once the emergency is over.
2. Find the tooth and call your dentist.
If it’s a baby tooth, there’s probably no need to rush right to the dentist or ER. Just have your child rinse his mouth with water and then apply a cold compress to keep the swelling down and stop any bleeding.
Take your child to the dentist just to be on the safe side, to make sure there isn’t any other damage in the mouth.
If it’s a permanent tooth, the single most important factor in saving the tooth is speed. Every minute the tooth is out of the socket, the less chance it has of surviving.
3. Hold the tooth by the crown, not the roots.
The crown is the part of the tooth you see when you open your mouth.
4. Rinse the tooth.
If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse the tooth with water or milk. Do not use soap.
5. Place the tooth back in the socket.
If possible, put the tooth back in the socket immediately. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the greater the chance it will survive.
Hold the tooth in place by having your child bite down on a piece of gauze or a wet tea bag.
If the tooth cannot be immediately replaced in its socket, have your child hold it in his mouth between the gum and teeth, or place it in a cup with a little bit of milk or saliva.
Keeping the tooth moist will help keep the nerves and roots alive so DON’T put the tooth dry in a tissue. Do not store it in tap water.
6. Apply a cold compress.
This will help keep the swelling down
7. See a dentist or emergency room immediately – ideally, within 30 minutes.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a child knocking a tooth out. But it’s good to know how to handle the situation if it ever occurs.