What do you do for a knocked out tooth?

I was at the playground with my kids and their friends. During play, my son’s 9-year-old friend fell on the metal monkey bars, knocking his front tooth right out! His mom picked it up and they quickly left. That had me in a panic, as I wouldn’t know what to do in that situation. What is the proper protocol should a child have an accident and knock a tooth out? — Maggie

A knocked out tooth is quite a common reason to visit an emergency dentist. If a primary tooth (baby tooth) gets knocked out, its likely you can just leave it under the pillow for the tooth fairy. If a permanent tooth gets knocked out, like in the case you witnessed, there are important steps you need to follow to increase the chances of a successful outcome. First, find the tooth. When you do, do not scrub it clean (most people feel compelled to do so). Place the tooth in a moist environment, like a cup of milk. You want to call your dentist right away, as this is a case of life and death-for your tooth!

Your dentist may advise you to do a few things, such as further clean the tooth, and place it back in the mouth where it fell out from. Most people aren’t comfortable with that, understandably, but the idea is to get the tooth replanted as soon as possible. I’m sure your dentist will see you right away, where they will hope to get the tooth back in place, and provide a splint to keep the tooth in position while it heals. After that, the tooth will likely need a root canal to remove the dead inside part of the tooth, unless the tooth is new then it may have a chance of healing on its own. In any event, a knocked out tooth deserves an emergency trip to the dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Alana Macalik. For more information on the services she provides, visit her Arlington cosmetic dentist website.