One minute your kids are jumping off the couch pretending to be superheroes.

The next, your child is missing their front tooth.

It’s easy to panic when a child knocks out a tooth, but knowing what to do and how to act quickly is essential.

If you can stay calm and think clearly, you can limit tooth damage, minimize pain, and reduce necessary dental treatment.

If it’s a Baby Tooth:

Children’s teeth are prone to be bumped, knocked, and loosened over time. A knocked-out baby tooth may be unplanned but isn’t necessarily an emergency situation.

More so than dental injury, the biggest risk is choking on the tooth.

Follow these simple steps if your child knocks out a baby tooth:

  1. Apply pressure on the site with a washcloth or gauze.
  2. If you can, find the tooth. If you can’t, no worries – just be sure they aren’t choking on it.
  3. Do not touch the root of the tooth once you find it. Instead, grab it by the crown end or the top.
  4. Put the tooth in a cup of milk, contact solution, or saline, and visit the dentist right away.

When a child knocks out a tooth, it is essential to preserve the tooth in a cup of milk, contact solution, or saline.

Treatment Options:

Depending on the age and growth patterns of the child, there may be little or no treatment for a knocked-out tooth.

In some cases, a bump is just the ticket to help out a tooth that was already loose, to begin with.

Other times, spacers may be necessary to hold the alignment of the other teeth to prevent future orthodontic issues.

Some parents of young children will opt for a “pediatric partial”, which is essentially replacement teeth attached temporarily with orthodontic bands. This is a cosmetic option for parents who don’t want to wait a few years for their little one’s permanent teeth to appear.

If it’s a Permanent Tooth:

If it’s a permanent tooth that was knocked out, treatment is necessary for both functional and cosmetic purposes.

In most cases, the dentist can reattach the tooth if the incident is handled properly.

  1. Apply pressure on the site with a washcloth or gauze.
  2. Find the tooth. This is especially important if it is a permanent tooth. Repair options become limited if you don’t have the original tooth. Even if you can find a portion of it, that can be helpful.
  3. When you find the tooth, be careful not to touch the root of the tooth. This is primarily to prevent infection.
  4. Holding the tooth by the crown or the top, clean it in a bowl of lukewarm water or milk.
  5. Call and make an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible.

Treatment Options:

There are several options to treat a permanent tooth that’s been knocked out.

First, the dentist may recommend bonding for a tooth that’s only partially removed.

Other options may be a bridge, dental implant, or veneer, depending on the extent of the damage and the age of the child.

There are several treatment options to consider when a child knocks out a tooth.

Complications from a Knocked-Out Tooth

Any tooth trauma should be monitored closely over several weeks. The mouth is a system where one piece can seriously impact others. Some signs of trouble can pop up days, weeks, or even months later. Keep an eye out for the complications from a knocked-out tooth.

Signs of abscesses may include swelling, fluid retention at the site, a bubble, or blistering at the gums.

  • Teeth turning gray or black may indicate damaged or decaying nerves.
  • Problems with jaw formation over time if lost teeth are not treated.
  • Change in bone and biting patterns due to missing teeth.
  • Wedging or spacing issues requiring orthodontic treatment.

If any of these signs show up, it may be necessary to treat them and possibly remove baby teeth so that they don’t damage the adult ones underneath.

Breathe First. Call Second.

In most cases, there is no need to panic if your child knocks out a tooth.

Especially in children, this is very common and happens all the time.

Baby teeth were not meant to be permanent and therefore, are prone to falling out unexpectedly.

However, it’s always important to check in with your dentist to review the incident, check for signs of problems and explore treatment options. Seeing your dentist immediately is the best approach for your child’s long-term dental health.

If you’ve had a bump to the mouth, give us a call right away.