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How to Save a Knocked-Out Tooth

added on: September 10, 2014
Little girl smiling with a missing front tooth

It could happen on the playground, in the pool, or at the park, and learning what to do if your child’s tooth gets knocked out can help save it. Of course, our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to help, but it’s always useful to know some steps you can take to keep the tooth healthy and safe.

First and foremost, no matter how the injury occurred, it’s important to stay calm, keep your child calm, and evaluate the injury. Often, a mouth injury can also mean a head injury, so check your kid to make sure there no other serious concerns before tending to your child’s tooth. Teeth can always be replaced, but more serious injuries should be handled immediately. If everything else appears to be alright, you can start working to save the tooth.

If the entire tooth has been knocked out, which includes both the crown (the part that you can see when it’s in the mouth) and the roots (the part that’s usually hidden below the gums), it’s important to find the tooth as soon as you can. Once it’s found, only handle it by the crown and avoid touching the roots. Gently rinse the tooth off with clean water and make sure that any tissues that may be on the roots are kept in place. After cleaning, try inserting the tooth back into the socket and control any bleeding by having your child bite on gauze or a clean towel or shirt. Then call our Long Island pediatric dental office immediately.

If you are unable to put the tooth back into the socket, place the tooth in a cup of milk. Once dislodged from the gums, teeth can start to die within 15 minutes, so be sure to act quickly. If milk isn’t available, have your child spit into a cup and keep the tooth in that until you can get to your pediatric dentist in Long Island. Do not store a knocked-out tooth in water as it can cause damage to the roots.

It’s important to note that the tips above are for permanent teeth only. If the tooth that’s been knocked out is a primary tooth (baby tooth), do not try to replace the tooth back into the socket. This could cause damage to the permanent tooth below the gum line. If your child is young when the injury to the primary teeth occurs, they’ll have a space there for a bit longer than they would if the trauma didn’t happen. But a few ‘holey’ grins are a lot better than damage to a permanent tooth!

As always, if you have concerns about what to do if this happens to your kid, please don’t hesitate to call our pediatric dental office in Long Island. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have and help take care of the precious smiles in your life.

Serving patients in Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.