Most parents do not worry much about their children’s milk teeth. After all, they will lose them all in a few years. Baby teeth are, however, an important part of the correct growth and development of the jaws and face. It is always a big concern when a little one’s tooth gets knocked out because it’s usually due to an accident.
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 baby tooth, as they prepare to take the child to an emergency dental clinic.
1. Stop the bleeding.
To reduce bleeding:
- Apply a cold compress on the affected site to control the bleeding 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 help to calm your child down and usually stops them crying!
2. Do not replace the baby tooth
Baby teeth that are knocked out are never replaced. They will not rejoin to the jaw correctly and can affect and damage the adult tooth that is growing underneath.
If the tooth is an adult tooth, re-implant the tooth in the socket as quickly as possible and avoid stopping the bleeding as detailed above first or re-implantation will be more difficult. Do not rinse the tooth in water. If it is dirty, rinse gently in milk or saliva and do not remove the gum tags that are on the root of the tooth. These are important for healing.
3. Find the knocked out tooth.
You do not do this so your child can get a visit from the tooth fairy although this is often a good way to help your child make good of a bad situation!
It’s to find the tooth so the dentist can examine it to ensure there are no broken fragments still in place.
Keep the tooth in a container until you get to the dentist.
4. Head to the dentist for an examination and reassurance.
Everything will be completely under control once you get to a children’s dentistry clinic where the dentist can take over. The dentist will be able to assess the true condition of your child’s mouth to ensure that no other trauma has occurred.
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 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.