What to Do If Your Child Chips, Cracks, Or Knocks Out A Tooth
By: General Dentist Hassan Alshehabi
Knowing what to do (and what not to do) during a dental emergency will prepare you in case your child chips, cracks, or knocks out a tooth.
It’s important to know that no matter what the dental injury is or how small it may appear, your child will need to be evaluated by a dentist to ensure that there is no additional damage or injuries to the mouth, surrounding teeth, and jaw.
Sometimes the child may not even notice or be in pain, but other times if a large part of the tooth has been chipped or if the tooth is knocked out altogether, it can be painful for them.
Steps if a Child Chips or Breaks a Tooth
If your child cracks, chips, or breaks a tooth, follow these steps:
- Contact your child's dentist right away.
- Rinse their mouth with water.
- Put a cold compress on the face to reduce swelling.
- If possible, bring the tooth fragment with you to the dentist.
If a baby tooth is knocked out, never try to replant it, as it could cause damage to the permanent tooth behind it and the tooth. Instead, schedule a visit to your pediatric dentist as soon as possible and bring the tooth with if you are able.
However, if the knocked-out tooth is a permanent tooth, you should rinse it off carefully, replace it in the mouth as quickly as possible, and see your dentist immediately.
How to Temporarily Replant a Tooth
These instructions should only be used if the tooth knocked out is a permanent tooth.
- Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the widest part of the tooth). Avoid touching the root of the tooth.
- If a tooth is dirty, gently rinse the tooth in cold water for 10 seconds. Do not scrub it or use soap.
- Gently place the tooth back in its socket and have your child bite down gently on a clean piece of gauze, handkerchief, or washcloth.
- If you can't replant the tooth, place it in a clean container and keep it moist until you can get to a dentist. The best liquid to put a tooth in is a special tooth-preservation product called Save-A-Tooth. If you’re unable to get a hold of this product, use cold milk, saliva, a saline solution, or water.
- Seek dental care immediately.
The best chance for tooth survival is to replant it or place it in one of the above liquids within about five minutes, so you must act fast and be prepared in the case your child knocks out a permanent tooth.
Though you can't prevent every stumble, fall, or sports injury, child-proofing your home and having your child wear a mouth guard when playing sports can go a long way in avoiding dental injuries.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s teeth, especially when playing sports, request an appointment below and our caring dental teams can help!