Your child trips and falls while playing, and gets up crying and with a bloody mouth. You notice a tooth has been knocked out. What should you do?
The steps to follow depend on whether it was a baby tooth or a permanent tooth that was knocked out.
Losing a baby tooth is not usually serious, since the tooth would have fallen out eventually. To reduce the bleeding, you can apply some cold, wet gauze or cloth to the gum. Ask your child to bite down on the cloth, if the child is old enough to understand. To reduce the pain and swelling, you can also apply an ice-pack to the cheek and give your child an analgesic (e.g. acetaminophen or ibuprofen).
It is recommended that you see a dentist in order to make sure that no further damage was caused by the fall.
Losing a permanent tooth, however, is a dental emergency! The tooth could be put back in place if you act quickly and correctly. The first step is therefore to find the tooth.
Don’t hold the tooth by the root (the part that was in the gums). If possible, reinsert it into its hole and put gauze around it to keep it in place, asking your child to bite down gently on the gauze. If needed, rinse it first.
If you can’t reinsert it, ask your child to hold the tooth between the gums and the lower lip. It can also be placed in a container of milk, but never in water!
Go immediately to the emergency or to see your dentist. The sooner your child receives medical care, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved!