What to Do When Your Child Knocks Out a Tooth

Published on October 02, 2017 | News

Kids love to run, jump and roughhouse — and sometimes all that play can lead to a knocked-out tooth. More than five million teeth1 are knocked out every year, by both children and adults.

Whether your child knocks out a baby tooth or a permanent tooth, a knocked-out tooth can lead to poor oral health if you don’t consult your dentist immediately.

Baby teeth that are knocked out too early can affect the health and placement of your child’s permanent teeth later.2 And a knocked-out permanent tooth could cause tooth shifting, bone loss, and difficulty chewing — not to mention a gap in your child’s smile.3

If your child knocks out their tooth, it can be scary for the both of you. But being prepared and knowing what to do as a parent can help you stay calm and find the best solution.

Here’s what you should do if your child knocks out a baby or a permanent tooth.

Knocked-Out Baby Tooth

Although your child will lose all their baby teeth eventually, knocking out a baby tooth before it’s ready to fall out can negatively affect your child’s permanent teeth.

If the underlying permanent tooth won’t be erupting for a while, your dentist may need to put a false tooth in the knocked-out tooth’s place to keep nearby teeth from moving into the gap.

Shifting baby teeth could crowd your child’s permanent teeth when they do grow in2, which could lead to increased risk of cavities and gingivitis, difficulty chewing, and a crooked smile.4

Knocking out a baby tooth could also affect the enamel on the underlying permanent tooth2, which could increase its risk for cavities and decay later in your child’s life.

What to do: Don’t try to reattach the knocked-out baby tooth, as it could damage the underlying permanent tooth.5 Schedule a visit to your dentist as soon as possible to ensure the health of the underlying permeant tooth and find a solution for the knocked-out baby tooth, if necessary.

Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth

Beyond having a gap in his or her smile, losing a permanent tooth can negatively impact your child’s oral health.6 The health risks of losing a permanent tooth include:

  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Shifting teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Wearing down of remaining teeth
  • Changes in their jaw joint

What to do:

If your child knocks out their permanent tooth, your options depend on if your child has possession of the tooth, or if they lost it. If your child lost their knocked-out tooth, go straight to your dentist to figure out your options.

If your child has the knocked-out tooth, you’ll want to act fast to increase your chances of being able to replant the tooth7:

  1. Pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root. Rinse off any blood or dirt with milk or cold running water. Be sure not to touch or scrub the root of the tooth.
  2. Reinsert your child’s tooth into the socket if possible. Have your child hold the tooth in place by pressing gently with their finger, or they can hold the tooth in place by gently biting a clean cloth.
  3. If it’s too difficult to reinsert the tooth, place your child’s tooth in a container of milk. If milk isn’t available, wrap the tooth in a damp cloth.
  4. Go to your dentist or endodontist immediately. Replanting your child’s tooth within 30 minutes of injury greatly increases its chance for survival.
  5. Your dentist may splint your child’s tooth to the teeth next to it with a thin plastic or metal wire, which can allow the ligaments that join the tooth to the bone to regrow. After a few weeks, your dentist will check to see if the tooth has reattached and if the splint can be removed.
  6. If the tooth does not reattach after a few weeks, your dentist can provide your child with an implant or bridge to fill the gap.

Although a knocked-out tooth may be destressing for your child, staying calm and contacting your dentist quickly will sooth your child and ensure you find the best possible solution.

If your child plays sports, they may be at a heightened risk for broken and knocked-out teeth. Knowing how to protect your child’s teeth during sports can save them a lot of pain (and you a lot of money). Here’s how you can protect your child’s teeth during sports >

Sources:

1.    http://www.aae.org/patients/symptoms/knocked-out-teeth.aspx
2.    http://www.parents.com/advice/big-kids/injuries-accidents/what-should-i-do-if-my-childs-tooth-gets-knocked-out/
3.    http://www.straumann.us/en/patients/solutions-to-replace-your-teeth/effects_of_missing_teeth.html
4.    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=43113&page=2
5.    https://patient.info/health/a-knocked-out-tooth
6.    http://www.straumann.us/en/patients/solutions-to-replace-your-teeth/effects_of_missing_teeth.html
7.    https://www.health.harvard.edu/oral-health/what-to-do-in-a-dental-emergency

Brought to you by Blue Hills Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. #2017-46949 (exp. 9/19).

MORE Call Offers