Most parents do not worry much about their children’s milk teeth. After all, they will lose them all in a few years. But it is always a big concern when the little one’s tooth gets knocked out because it’s usually due to an accident. In addition to that, a child can easily freak out and wail loudly at the sight and taste of blood from his or her mouth.
To take control of the situation, below is a step-by-step guide below that parents can follow in the case of a knocked-out tooth, as they prepare to take the child to an emergency dental clinic.
1. Stop the bleeding.
To reduce bleeding:
- Clean your child’s mouth with cold water for bleeding to cease.
- Apply a cold compress on the affected site to control the swelling.
- Alternatively, get a piece of sterile gauze. Ask your child to bite down hard on it for a minute or so. The pressure will reduce the blood flow and eventually also cause blood to clot.
Stopping the bleeding first is important because it will be so much easier to replace the tooth in a mouth that’s no longer bleeding. And if your child is crying, seeing the bleeding stop may prompt him or her to calm down as well.
2. Find the knocked out tooth.
You do not do this so your child can get a visit from the tooth fairy. It’s important to find the tooth so you can preserve it properly for “replacement.”
When you find the tooth, be sure to not touch the root to ensure its survival. You want the tooth to still be alive when it’s put back in place.
3. Rinse the tooth if it has dirt on it.
If the tooth landed on the ground and dirt attached to it, clean it right away. Do this by holding it by the crown and dousing it with either milk or saline solution (the cleaning agent for wounds and contact lenses).
There’s no need to wipe the tooth clean after – better keep it wet.
4. Try putting the tooth back in the socket.
This can prove tricky but try anyway. Gently insert the tooth into where it used to be. The gum flap usually can keep it in place.
5. If you can’t replace the tooth in its original location, store the tooth.
Sometimes clotted blood in the socket makes it difficult to put the tooth back in its place.
If this is the case, do the following:
- Prepare a small container with milk. Make sure that the amount of milk is enough to submerge the whole tooth.
- Ask your child to spit the knocked-out tooth into the container.
- Keep the tooth in this container until you get to the dentist.
6. Head to the dentist for the replacement of the knocked-out tooth.
Everything will be completely under control once you get to a children’s dentistry clinic where the dentist can take over. The dentist will not only be able to reattach the tooth with a splint, he will be able to assess the true condition of your child’s mouth as well.
Prompt professional dental treatment is always required in this emergency, for at times, the damage may go beyond the knocked-out tooth. The gums may have sustained an injury as well, and the injury may actually compromise the condition of the permanent tooth that will come out in the same location one day.
It’s crucial to have a good assessment of what happened, so the most appropriate treatment can be carried out. The assessment also helps parents prepare for potential complications to keep an eye on.
Knowing the right things to do in this type of dental emergency can save your child’s tooth and prevent further problems. So, arm yourself with the guide provided here. With this, you can be sure to do the smart thing when you find yourself dealing with such dental emergencies in the future.
Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual’s requirements, Mike’s focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.