If a art of being a kid involves rough and tumble play. But what if my child has a knocked out tooth? If your child plays out of doors or plays sports, knocking out a tooth is a possibility. Losing teeth, whether permanent or primary should involve a visit to the dentist. Your pediatric dentist can help by reattaching the tooth or providing a cosmetic fix for the resulting gap. Parents can help save the tooth by knowing what to do if an accident occurs.
What to Do With A Knocked Out Tooth
When your child knocks out their tooth it can be painful and traumatic, especially if its a permanent tooth. Be sure to comfort your child first then try reinserting the tooth, if you can. You should avoid touching the root of the tooth at all costs! If you need to control the bleeding, use a sterile gauze over the socket and have your child bite down or hold it in place. Do not scrub the tooth or remove any tissue from it. Rinse it in milk if the tooth is dirty, but be sure not to hold it over the sink drain in case it slips out of your hand. Gently replace the tooth into the socket. If you can not do that or if it doesn’t stay put the tooth in a clean jar of milk, saltwater or saliva. Do not wrap the tooth as it reduces the chances of being able to reattach it. Take your child to see their dentist as soon as possible and bring the tooth with you! If you can’t find the tooth it may be lodged in the child’s mouth. The dentist will perform an x-ray to make sure and see if there are no other injuries.
What Happens Next
Losing a primary tooth or baby tooth is a natural part of growing. Losing them too early or if they are forced upwards into the gums can create future problems. If you lose a primary tooth before its ready can lead to something called tooth crowding, where permanent teeth move into the vacant spot. Your dentist can help that from happening by inserting an appliance called a ‘space maintainer’ into your child’s mouth. This will leave space for their permanent tooth.
Sometimes permanent teeth will reattach if they are held in place for several weeks. Your dentist can ‘splint’ the tooth with thin plastic or metal wires to keep it in place long enough for the ligaments regrow to the bone. Your dentist will schedule a follow up appointment to make sure that happens.
When a Tooth Doesn’t Reattach
In the event the tooth does not or can not reattach, your dentist can talk to you about the available options for tooth replacement. Implants or bridges are used to return your child’s smile. Implants are inserted into the jawbone and grow into the bone over a period of months. Once its completely embedded the dentist will attach a crown to the abutment of the implant. A bridge is one or more false teeth that are attached to neighboring teeth on either side for support. Both options require several appointments and the same care as regular teeth.
Losing a tooth can be a shocking and painful moment for the child and the parent. Being sure to take the proper preventative measures and going to the dentist immediately will help avoid complications later. Remember that even if the tooth can’t be saved there are options to keep your child’s perfect smile, especially when you know what to do if your child loses a tooth!
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