The Knockout: How To Handle Your Child’s Knocked-Out Tooth

A lost tooth may not necessarily be lost for good. If you take action fast to preserve the tooth, your dentist may be able to save it. To get some tips on making sure that happens, read on.

  1. Time is of the essence, so make sure you act as quickly as possible. If you can take the below actions within about 30 minutes or so, the chances for reinsertion are far better.
  2. Phone your dentist as soon as possible and let them know what happened. They will try to fit you into the schedule since they recognize the importance of being seen fast.
  3. When retrieving the tooth, try to avoid touching it by the root. Pick the tooth up and hold it by the crown (the enamel part of the tooth).
  4. Gently clean the tooth by rinsing it off with warm water. Never use soap or other substances to clean the tooth. Let it air-dry, and never wipe it or put it in tissue.
  5. The best place to keep a knocked-out tooth is in the mouth. As long as your child can do so safely, gently place the missing tooth back in the same place it came from. If needed, use a bit of gauze or tissue between the teeth and tell your child to bite down gently or to hold it in place.
  6. If holding the tooth in the socket is not possible, there are other alternatives. The tooth can be held in the mouth in the cheek area, but this might only be advisable for older children who are not in danger of swallowing the tooth or choking on it. The old home remedy of putting the tooth in milk really works to help keep the tooth safe. You can also find emergency tooth-saving kits at most pharmacies, and those provide you with a liquid and tooth holder to keep the tooth healthy and moist until you can get to the dentist. Refrain from keeping the tooth in water since it's not good for the root, which is the most vulnerable part of a tooth.

The treatment for a knocked-out tooth varies depending on how long the tooth was out of the socket and whether or not the tooth is in one piece. The tooth can be re-rooted if it's not damaged, but some extra support may be needed. Special support splints are wired to the teeth on either side to hold the tooth in place temporarily. If the root is damaged, a root canal may be necessary.

Speak to your dentist to find out more about emergency dental care.