How to Manage Your Child’s knocked Out Tooth
Knocked out tooth – What to do
It is not uncommon for accidental injuries to the dentition to occur during your child’s developmental years, especially if they take part in sports or with ‘rough’ play. But these can sometimes result in a knocked out tooth which should be managed appropriately. Whether your child loses a baby tooth or a permanent tooth, parents can help by knowing what to do. Here are a few guidelines that will help should your child suffer this injury:
Rule #1: Stay calm and comfort your child since they most likely will be frantic.
Knocked out Tooth at a Tender Age – Baby Teeth
There’s no need to panic too much. Just have your child rinse their mouth with water and then apply a cold compress (like a clean washcloth) to keep the swelling down and stop any bleeding. You may have them bite on sterile gauze to stop bleeding in the socket.
A visit to the dentist is recommended depending on their age. If the underlying permanent tooth is not close to erupting there is a chance that the neighbouring teeth may drift into the newly vacant space. This leads to crowding of the area and possible displacement of the new tooth from its ‘normal’ position. If this is the case some action may need to be taken in the form of a ‘space maintainer’ to ensure the position of the future tooth is saved. Trauma like this at a tender age could also affect the enamel on the developing permanent tooth, making it more vulnerable to decay later on.
Knocked out tooth for older children – Permanent Teeth
This is definitely an emergency and requires urgent action. If the situation is handled immediately and appropriately the tooth can be placed back into the socket and successfully reattatched giving your child’s tooth a good prognosis into adulthood.
According to dentaltraumaguide.org, the following steps should be taken:
- Keep the patient calm.
- Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
- If the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it. Try to encourage the child / parent to replant the tooth. Bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
- If this is not possible, place the tooth in a suitable storage medium, e.g. a glass of milk or a special storage media for avulsed teeth if available (e.g. Hanks balanced storage medium or saline). The tooth can also be transported in the mouth, keeping it between the molars and the inside of the cheek. If the patient is very young, he/she could swallow the tooth- therefore it is advisable to get the patient to spit in a container and place the tooth in it. Avoid storage in water!
- Seek emergency dental treatment immediately
Once at the dentist office, they will advise &/ or treat accordingly depending on the status of the tooth. General dentists are trained in managing this type of problem. For more specialized care, paediatric dentists or endodontists may be recommended. Avoid unnecessary pain and possibly many visits to the dentist when you act immediately after the incident of a knocked out tooth.