What If My Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth?

Kids enjoy roughhousing, jumping, running, and playing sports, and unfortunately, sometimes that results in a tooth being knocked out. The American Association of Endodontists reports that over five million teeth get knocked out each year. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it can result in some oral health problems, so it’s important to consult with your dentist right away. It can be scary if your child knocks out a permanent tooth, but if you are prepared for the event, you’ll be able to stay calm and take action to help save your child’s tooth. The good news – taking action quickly can save the tooth, allowing it to be successfully planted so it can last a lifetime.

Consequences of a Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, it’s obviously going to leave a gap in his smile, and that can leave your child feeling self conscious about smiling for years to come. Some of the risks that come with losing a permanent tooth may include:

  • Shifting of the teeth
  • Changes in your child’s jaw joint
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • The remaining teeth may wear down
  • Problems chewing food

Action Steps to Follow When Your Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth

Hopefully the tooth can be found if your child has a permanent tooth knocked out. If you can’t find it, you need to get into your dentist right away to find out what options are available. If you can find the knocked out tooth, you need to act fast. Follow these steps to help save the tooth.

  • Step #1 – Pick up the tooth carefully, touching it on the crown. Avoid touching the root of the tooth. Use cool running water or some milk to rinse of dirt or blood. Make sure you don’t scrub or touch the tooth root. You should never use any chemicals or soap to clean the tooth. Don’t dry the tooth or wrap it in cloth or a tissue.
  • Step #2 – If possible, the American Association of Endodontics recommends placing the tooth back into its socket, pushing it gently into position. However, you should never force the tooth back into position.
  • Step #3 – If you’re unable to get the tooth back in place, you can place it in a container of milk so it’s kept moist. Milk is a great medium for storing a knocked out tooth because it protects the root of the tooth and won’t make cells from the root surface swell up and burst like tap water does.
  • Step #4 – Immediately go to your dentist. If you can have the tooth implanted back into your child’s mouth within 30 minutes of losing it, it greatly increases the chance that the tooth will survive. However, a dentist can often save a tooth, even if it’s been an hour or more since it was knocked out. The most important thing is to get to a dentist as fast as possible to increase the chances that the permanent tooth can be saved.
  • Step #5 – Your child’s dentist may splint the tooth to the teeth that are next to it using a thin metal or plastic wire. This allows the ligaments that help joint the tooth and the bone to regrow. After a few weeks have passed, your child’s dentist will check the tooth to see if the tooth has fully reattached. If so, the splint can be removed.

What if the Tooth Doesn’t Reattach?

In many cases, the tooth will reattach, but sometimes a tooth won’t reattach, especially if you’re unable to get to the dentist quickly after your child knocks out the tooth. The good news is that there are ways to fill the gap. A bridge or implant can be used to fill the gap and give your child a perfect smile once again.

A knocked out permanent tooth can be distressing for both you and your child. However, if you stay calm, take care of the tooth, and get to your dentist right away, it can be saved. At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, we specialize in working with children.  If your child loses a permanent tooth, we’re here to help. Give us a call and schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentistry today.