First, don't panic. Second, read on!
Dr. Gaby Cosgrove: If your child is 6 or under, chances are that if his/her front tooth gets knocked out, it will be a primary tooth (a.k.a. a baby tooth). Aside from calming the child from the trauma of the accident, there's nothing you can do, because you can't save the tooth. Don't worry, though: A permanent tooth will still erupt in time, as long as the tooth bud under the gum has not been damaged. If the accident is traumatic, it's important to get to a dentist to have the area examined, but it's not an emergency that needs immediate attention.
On the other hand, if your child is 6 or older and a front tooth gets knocked out (or "avulsed," as we dentists call it), follow these guidelines:
â€¢ Once you've calmed down your child, it's essential to find the tooth that has been knocked out. If it's in one piece, you're in luck -- it could be reimplanted! If it's broken and in pieces, however, it cannot.
â€¢ Call your dentist immediately, because time is of the essence.
â€¢ Once you find the tooth, only handle it by the top part (the crown). Try not to touch the root. Gently rinse off the tooth to remove any large particles; saline solution or saliva are the best cleansers. Do NOT scrub the tooth or wipe it off! If everything looks clean, the tooth can and should be replaced into the socket immediately. (This is the best-case scenario.) Once you see your dentist, she/he will make sure it has been replaced properly.
â€¢ If there's too much of a mess, store the tooth in a cup of milk and head straight to the dentist with it. The chances of success in reimplanting a tooth are best up to 60 minutes after avulsion.
Once you get to the dentist's office, the tooth will be replaced into the socket and most likely bonded to the adjacent teeth for anchorage. The success of this reimplantation will be seen in time. The tooth may still have future problems that need to be monitored by your dentist very carefully.
Bottom line: If your child participates in sports activities, he/she should wear a sports mouthguard! If your child has permanent teeth, your dentist can make you a custom guard. If your child still has primary teeth, you can purchase a prefabricated mouthguard at any sporting-goods store. Not only will this protect your child's smile, it will teach him/her good habits for the future!
|Dr. Gaby Cosgrove was born in South Africa and grew up in Philadelphia. After completing her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, she decided to follow in the footsteps of her father and received her dental degree from Temple University School of Dentistry. Dr. Cosgrove has been in private practice for the past 12 years. Dr. Cosgrove and her husband Danny, a physician, have two children.|