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Help! My Child Has Knocked A Tooth Out!

A lot of parents, guardians and educators are really in the dark about how to treat a dental emergency such as a child knocking out a permanent tooth. Accidents that cause trauma to the mouth are common in childhood.

There’s the old “Look at me I can swim!” trick where the Australian Crawl demo becomes an Australian Bawl demo as a child hits their teeth on the side of the pool. Or a schoolyard game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” becomes “Duck, Duck, Loose” when two children collide.

Parents are constantly besieged with information about how raise children and yet the moment something traumatic like this happens they often don’t know what to do. It’s okay. That’s perfectly normal, this IS your child we’re talking about. But here’s how you can be prepared should the situation arise for your child.

Let’s imagine that your child has fallen off a bike, and, in the process, it appears that they have hit their mouth on the handle bars (the clue, you will note, is the blood they have around their lips and teeth).

Let’s stop here for a minute and say that, whilst all due care must be made to check your child’s injuries, mouth injuries can often appear a lot worse because when blood mixes with saliva it creates what might seem to be a volume of liquid of epic proportions.

So, stay calm. Even though it seems easier to panic and even though your brain is saying, “Strewth, he/she’s a gonner!”.

If you are calm, your child is more likely to be.

You actually do know what to do. Or at least you will in a moment.

You know your child is alive because they are breaking the sound barrier, but always check that there are no other life-threatening injuries before you attend to injuries of the mouth.

If Your Child Has Knocked A Tooth Out

CALM

Calm the child and make sure there are no other life-threatening injuries that need attending to first.

LOOK

If you can see that there is a tooth missing, look for the tooth in the surrounding area. If you don’t find it there may be a need for an x-ray to ensure the tooth was not inhaled.

RINSE AND REPLACE

If you find the tooth, rinse it gently, being careful to handle by the crown of the tooth and not the root.  Place the tooth back in position, making sure it’s facing the right way around. Cover it with clean gauze or handkerchief and instruct the child to bite it to hold it in place (if it’s a baby tooth, don’t place it back in.)

WRAP AND SOAK IN MILK

If you cannot replace the tooth, place it in clean tissue/gauze soaked in milk or saline (salt water) and place in plastic bag. Do not place tooth inside the child’s mouth (e.g. cheek or under tongue) as this can be inhaled or swallowed.

SEEK DENTAL EMERGENCY HELP

Seek immediate dental emergency help.

(It is interesting to note that teeth that are reimplanted as soon as possible after the injury have the best chance of healing without complication. They can be splinted to neighbouring teeth and, over time, tested to see if they are still vital (alive).)

If your child has not actually had the whole tooth knocked out and a fragment or fragments have come off, apply the same principals.

If Your Child Has Broken A Tooth

CALM

Calm the child and make sure there are no other injuries that need attending to first.

LOOK

Find the piece or pieces of tooth if not still attached. If you don’t find any, there may be a need for an x-ray to ensure the tooth was not inhaled.

WRAP AND SOAK IN MILK

Wrap the piece or pieces of tooth in a small towel/gauze soaked in milk or saline (salt water) and place in plastic bag. Do not place the piece of tooth into the child’s mouth (e.g. cheek or under tongue) as this can be inhaled or swallowed.

SEEK DENTAL EMERGENCY HELP

Seek immediate dental emergency help. Most often teeth that have been fractured off can be splinted back together. They may require root canal treatment later down the track.

Of interest, and, perhaps not surprisingly, boys often suffer more dental traumas than girls and the most common dental traumas are from simple falls. The tooth (or teeth) most commonly affected by trauma are, of course the top two front teeth (upper central incisors).

Book and appointment today or contact us to learn more