When you child hurts a tooth…….what should you do for a knocked out tooth?

Did you know that 50% of children will experience an injury to a tooth during their childhood?  Mouth injuries are also very common.  These injuries are unlikely to cause serious complications, but when it happens, it can not only be traumatic for your child, but also for you as the parent.  With summer right around the corner, your children will be as active, if not more active, than during the school year.  They will also be partaking in activities that only summer brings!  ‘

Today, your Federal Way dentist, Dr. Josephine Lee is going to focus on teeth that get knocked out(or avulsed).  The treatment for a loose or knocked out tooth will depend on whether the tooth is primary(a baby tooth) or permanent.  For parents of toddlers, permanent teeth do not usually appear in your child’s mouth until around six years of age.

  • If your child dislodges a primary(baby) tooth, Dr. Lee, your dentist in Federal Way, will focus on preventing damage to the permanent tooth.  If the tooth is just loose, it will often heal on its own.  If it is knocked out completely, is SHOULD NOT be put back in the gums.  This could cause harm to the permanent tooth.  If a primary tooth is lost early, it does not usually affect your child’s speech, nor does it affect the positioning of the permanent tooth.
  • A dislocated permanent tooth requires prompt, immediate attention!  At least 85% of permanent teeth placed back in the socket with 15 minutes survive.  This percentage plummets the longer the tooth is out of the socket.  If there is going to be a delay of more than 15 minutes, place the tooth in either a cup of cold milk, or the child’s saliva ONLY.
  • If you are not able to get to our office with in 15 minutes, or if the injury occurs away from home, you, as the parent can attempt to reinsert the tooth.  Handle the tooth carefully by the crown only(not the root).  If there is debris, rinse with saline or tap water(do not scrub or sterilize the tooth).  Place the tooth back in the socket by hand then have your child bite on a towel to keep the tooth in place.  Your child will still need to see us as soon as possible!
  • After a tooth is placed back in the socket, Dr. Lee may “splint” the tooth to the teeth on either side.  This can help ensure the stability needed to help the tooth heal.
  • A successfully re-implanted tooth may require root canal therapy in the future.  If that need occurs, know that it is still a much more conservative approach than planning the replacement of a missing tooth on a child.  That process can take years and years, with completion usually not happening until adulthood.
If your child plays ANY contact sports, Dr. Lee, your cosmetic dentist in Federal Way, strongly recommends the use of an athletic mouth/sport guard!  This is ideally necessary for any sport where your child could be hit in the face with a ball(whether large, small, hard or soft) or be hit by another player.  There is also the choice have having a custom sport guard made.  These give a much more ideal fit over your child’s teeth, but will have to be replaced as baby teeth are lost and permanent teeth come in!


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