Whether it’s a fall in the playground, an accident while riding their bike, or a mishap in the garden, children can run into all sorts of misadventures while out and about. But what should you do if an unfortunate accident results in your child losing a tooth?
While dental emergencies can be stressful, it’s best to be prepared and know how to respond to the situation in order to avoid unnecessary complications. Check out our quick guide on what to do if your child loses a tooth, so you can deal with dental disasters effectively.
Responding to a knocked-out tooth
The first thing to remember is not to panic. Although it can be traumatic if your child’s tooth has been knocked out, there’s a chance your dentist will be able to reinsert the tooth.
In advance of your child seeing the dentist, here are some tips for handling the knocked-out tooth:
- If it’s a baby tooth it will not be able to be reinserted, but keep it for your dentist to inspect.
- Always hold the tooth by the top, not the roots, as it’s important to keep these intact for re-attachment.
- Avoid rubbing the tooth or holding it under running water. If the tooth is dirty, you can briefly clean it in a bowl of lukewarm water.
- You can attempt to insert the tooth back into the socket by getting your child to gently bite down on gauze or moist paper towel. If possible, your child should try to keep their jaw shut and bite down until you get to the dentist.
- If it’s not possible to insert the tooth back into the socket, you can store it in a small container of saliva or cold milk.
If your child has lost a tooth, you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. National Dental Care Group practices offer same-day appointments for dental emergencies, so contact your local practice immediately for assistance and advice.
What will happen if my child’s tooth is knocked out?
If the knocked-out tooth is a permanent tooth, there’s a chance your dentist will be able to reattach it. This involves using a splint to hold it in place, usually attached to adjacent teeth, which will be removed once the ligaments that connect the tooth to the jawbone have regrown.
If the knocked-out tooth out is a baby tooth, it may require a space maintainer. Although baby teeth eventually fall out naturally, premature loss can lead to oral health issues such as overcrowding in the vacated space, crooked teeth, and problems with eating. A space maintainer is a metal device that keeps the area open so permanent teeth underneath can develop properly.
If reattachment isn’t possible, your dentist will likely advise using a dental implant, bridge or denture to replace the missing tooth.
Do I need to do anything if my child’s baby tooth falls out naturally?
Losing baby teeth is an important and natural stage of development as children grow. Here are some simple tips to care for the empty tooth socket when a baby tooth falls out:
- Clean your child’s gums by wiping gently with a soft gauze
- Use a topical anaesthetic suitable for children to relieve discomfort if necessary
- If the socket is swollen, you can use a children’s anti-inflammatory - be sure to consult your dentist if swelling continues
Are you eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule?
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a government-funded scheme that provides eligible children with financial assistance (up to $1000 per year over a two-year period) for basic dental services, including check-ups, x-rays, fillings and more.
Click here to learn more about the CDBS.
If you need advice on taking care of your child’s teeth, speak to your local National Dental Care Group practitioner. You can book an appointment online now.