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What NOT to do if your child accidentally loses a tooth

Boy points to a gap in his teeth where he lost a toothIt is important that parents are aware of what to do if a child loses or chips a tooth in an accident as there are a few common mistakes people make in those crucial moments after a tooth is lost due to injury.

With the arrival of warmer weather, kids are heading outside to parks, sports fields, swimming pools or simply their backyards to play.

With the increase of outdoor activities comes the risk of minor injuries. In fact, about 50 per cent of kids will experience some type of tooth injury during childhood.

Just as kids prep for their sports season, it’s good for parents to know what to do in case of dental-related accident or emergency.

So what dental injuries are commonly caused by sports and activities and what should parents do if their child loses or chips a tooth in an accident?

Whether children are running around the local playground, bike riding in the neighbourhood, or merely playing organised sport, there is a risk of dental injuries. Kids at play can be susceptible to falling, colliding with objects (or each other) or being hit accidentally by balls or other sports equipment.

Dental and facial injuries represent a high percentage of the total injuries experienced in youth sports.

SUPPORT: Chat about teeth and teething in our forum.

You might also be surprised to know a significant percentage of mouth injuries also occur in children two to three years of age, so be sure to child proof your house for youngsters.

The moments just after a tooth injury can be traumatic for both parents and kids and knowing what to do ahead of time will alleviate some stress.

What to do when your child loses a tooth in an accident

  • Don’t waste time looking for a baby tooth. Instead, contact your dentist immediately. Remember, a baby tooth shouldn’t be placed back in the mouth because it could damage permanent teeth.
  • If your child has lost a permanent tooth, give it a very quick rinse in saline, milk or the child’s saliva and place the tooth BACK INTO the socket, hold gently in place with cloth tissue or small towel and get to your dentist. If this is not possible then place the tooth in a glass of milk and seek immediate care from your child’s dentist. Don’t scrub a permanent tooth with water or soap. Scrubbing the tooth or cleaning it with soap and water can cause further damage.
  • Pop the permanent tooth in a clean container with cold milk, or if milk is not available, place the tooth in a container with your child’s saliva. Don’t leave a permanent tooth in a glass of water. Water can damage cells on the root of the tooth necessary for it to reattach

It is important to contact a dentist after a child has a baby or permanent tooth knocked out. Time is critical when trying to save a permanent tooth. Contacting a dentist immediately is important as he can give you further guidance and advice to follow until you arrive at the office.

Also, some dental injuries are not readily apparent, so whenever there is an accident involving dental or facial trauma, it’s always best to have it evaluated.

Tips for when your child chips a tooth

If your child chips a tooth, take the fragment with you to the dentist if you’re able to find it.

Even if the dentist is unable to repair the tooth with the missing piece, he or she will still be able to treat your child and in most cases will still be able to repair the tooth.

Prompt treatment may reduce the chances of infection or the need for further extensive treatment.


– by Specialist Paediatric Dentist Dr John Camacho, The Smile Club

Image credit: robhainer/123RF Stock Photo

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