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What to Do When a Child Knocks a Tooth Out

Most children are very active. That is a good thing. But, all of the running, jumping, and colliding can result in teeth being dislodged. This is particularly common in very young children who have not mastered balance, and in older children who are very active in high-contact sports. Before you panic, however, realize that it may be possible to restore the tooth to its original place.

Attempt to Replace Yourself

The first step that should be taken is to wipe away enough of the blood, so you can clearly see where the tooth should be placed. If the tooth is dirty, rinse with milk and make every effort to avoid touching the root and any tissue still attached to it. After cleaning, attempt to gently replace the tooth into the gum. Often, the tooth will slip right back into place. If it doesn’t, don’t force it. Instead, follow the directions below.

If This Works… Once the tooth is back in place, offer tissue or gauze and ask the child to bite down on it gently. This will help stop the bleeding. Schedule an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible to ascertain that the tooth reattaches properly.

If it Doesn’t Work… Place the tooth in a small container of milk. If you do not have access to milk, saltwater or saliva can be used as substitutes. Immediately schedule an appointment with your dentist. He or she may be able to replace the tooth.

Consider Options If Tooth Cannot Be Replaced

While the obvious hope is that the tooth can be slipped back into place and life will return to normal. However, that isn’t always possible.

If it is a Baby Tooth… Baby teeth naturally fall out as a child grows anyway. The good news is that the space will eventually be filled by the adult tooth. The dentist will likely recommend a temporary spacer, though, to prevent the adjacent teeth from shifting into the empty space, and to help guide the adult tooth into the correct position.

If it is an Adult Tooth… Losing an adult tooth in this way is certainly more problematic, but the good news is that there are many dental options today that can provide realistic replacements for the lost tooth. Most likely an implant will be recommended. This involves placing an anchor in the bone, which can be used to hold a synthetic tooth that is a near-exact replica of the natural tooth. This will allow the child to continue eating and brushing as he or she normally does.

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