If you have a child who comes to you because they had a tooth get knocked out while playing, you want to make sure that you are handling the situation correctly. There's a good chance that the tooth can be put back into place and that your child can have a healthy tooth again, especially if you do everything right. So, what should you do?
Stop the Bleeding
If your child is bleeding, you want to stop that first. You can do that by putting a piece of gauze or a cotton ball in the space where the tooth came from and have your child bite down on it for a few minutes. That pressure will cause any bleeding to stop. It will also give you time to take care of the tooth to be ready when the bleeding has stopped.
Rinse the Tooth
The goal behind rinsing the tooth isn't to get everything off it and make it perfectly clean. Your goal here is to get rid of any big pieces of dirt and debris. The way you want to rinse it is to carefully hold the tooth by the tooth ends and put it under a small water trickle. Never hold the tooth by the root end because if you damage the root, it will be a lot harder to deal with the tooth. If there is gum tissue on the root, you don't want to dislodge it. Don't scrub at the tooth. Just let that trickle of water take care of the job for you.
Replace the Tooth
After cleaning the tooth, you want to gently stick it back into the socket. Don't force anything because you don't want to damage the tooth or the socket or hurt your child. Any damage done to either the socket or the tooth can make it hard for reintegration to happen. Some teeth have an obvious front and back. Others don't, so you'll have to use your best judgment on which way the tooth should fit. If you can't get the tooth back into the socket, store it in a baggie or small cup filled with spit or milk.
No matter what, you need to take your child in to see their dentist as soon as possible. They will need to check the tooth to make sure that it is healing correctly and take care of any other trauma to your child's jaw.
Talk to a dentist, such as Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA, to learn more.