What to do if Your Child Knocks out a Tooth

The days are getting colder. The holiday season is fast approaching. There’s so much to do and so little time to prepare for it all. As many are expecting the kids home during the winter break, it might be time to talk briefly about winter sports and common injuries.

Winter break in the Midwest is typically held between December 20th and the first week of January. It’s a great time for kids who get a vacation from the classrooms. And if the weather is cold enough, winter break is also a time when kids get to enjoy outdoor winter sports and activities of all kinds. Even though we’re all proponents of healthy outdoor exercise, we do see our fair share of emergency visits from parents who have children that have accidentally knocked out a tooth (or teeth) while sledding or ice skating. The following is a little bit of information about what to do if a child knocks out a tooth.

One of the reasons that we see so many emergency visits during the winter months is due to falling and tripping on slippery surfaces – not to mention ice skating accidents. In addition, some sledding antics – fun as they may initially appear – result in a few missing teeth from time to time.

Important note: scary as it may be for a parent with a child who has knocked loose a tooth (baby or permanent), this is something that can be addressed and corrected in the dentist office if acted upon in an expedient manner. Our 24-hour dentist emergency phone line is (913) 963-3268. This number is answered 24-hours a day. If your call is met by the voicemail, please leave a message and we will call you back within the hour. The 24-hour emergency dentist number may be something you want to program into your cell phone – just in case.

What to do if your child knocks out a tooth:

  1. Save the tooth! If you have the tooth, place it in a cup with cold water. It will “live” for about 6 hours if kept in water. This means that we have about 6 hours to place the tooth back into the socket.
  2. Call the Dr. Cobb 24-hour dentist emergency phone line at (913) 963-3268 and make an immediate appointment.
  3. Stop the bleeding. If there is any bleeding from the area where the tooth was knocked loose, apply pressure from a damp washcloth to stop the bleeding. This may take up to 20 minutes or so.
  4. Come see Dr. Cobb so that we can save any teeth and inspect the area for other damage to the surrounding tissue.

A few other things to note: At Dr. Cobb’s office, we do try to re-insert and save permanent teeth. If it’s a baby tooth, it’s more important to see the dentist and make sure that there aren’t any cuts or lacerations around the mouth or gums that surround the teeth. If your child is experiencing pain, you can give them Motrin or Ibuprofen. Incidents that call for stitches will be addressed as necessary. In some cases – where the accident involves the ground or concrete or metal objects that aren’t sanitary, we often prescribe a course of antibiotics for your child. Infections are no fun. Better safe than sorry!

Overall, having a tooth knocked out may seem like a traumatic event, but it’s really quite common with active kids. It’s most important to follow the steps provided above and make sure that you bring your child to the office so that Dr. Cobb can properly assess the situation.

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