While your child is still young, it’s normal for them to lose a few teeth along the way. At that age, they retain most of their primary teeth until their adult teeth are ready to come out. Sometimes, however, your child might lose a permanent tooth instead, often due to physical force. That said, what should you do if your child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
Without the right measures in place, the felled tooth could be lost forever. And a missing tooth could cause further complications in your child’s dental development. In place of the lost tooth, newer growths may crowd around the area, causing malocclusion (misaligned teeth). Here’s what you should do if your child’s tooth were knocked out:
Control the bleeding, re-insert the tooth
Typically, if a baby tooth falls out, no attempt should be made to re-insert it. If you try to jam the tooth into the gums, you might injure the gums and the developing teeth underneath. The opposite is true for permanent teeth. The faster you can re-insert the tooth into the socket, the quicker you can recover it.
Right after the tooth is knocked off, place some gauze over the socket to help control the bleeding. Make sure your child keeps the tooth inside their mouth. The saliva will not only clean the tooth but will also increase its chances of reattachment. If the tooth was expelled, rinse it either in milk, saliva, or a saline bath. Do not clean it with any other substance or attempt to wipe it dry. Otherwise, it won’t reattach.
Once the tooth is clean, you can then attempt to re-insert it into the socket. You must do this before a blood clot forms on the empty socket. Otherwise, you will not be able to insert the tooth.
When to see a dentist
Whether or not the re-insertion is successful, the next thing to do is to head to the dentist immediately. You must take no longer than one hour after the incident to have it treated. During this time, the dentist may be able to re-insert the tooth if you were unable to prior. Otherwise, they may splint the re-inserted tooth to hold it until the bone regrows.
Sometimes, however, even with the best efforts, a tooth cannot be saved. From here, you and your child could talk to the dentist about other options.
For one, your child may opt to get a dental bridge to fill the gap left by the tooth. This option allows them a complete smile that is mostly non-intrusive, save for the crowns on the adjacent teeth.
Another option to consider is a dental implant, which mimics the roots of a tooth. Implants then feel more natural than other restorations and have the added benefit of keeping jawbone density, as the bone eventually grows around it and keeps it in place.
So yes, while having a tooth knocked off can be scary to take care of, it’s not the end of the world. As long as you stay alert and know your options, your child’s smile will still shine bright.