Tooth Injury: First Aid

 

Injuries to children’s teeth are common. Injuries can range from minor chipping to a knocked out tooth. Both baby teeth and permanent teeth ​can be injured.

When giving first aid treatment to a toddler or young child with a tooth injury, the goal is to prevent additional harm to the permanent teeth that are developing below the baby teeth.

Causes of tooth injuries

Children may injure their teeth as a result of falls, playground accidents, flying objects, such as Frisbees and balls, or sport-related injuries.

Types of tooth injuries

Your child may have the following type of tooth injury:

  • a minor chip
  • a major chip
  • a serious fracture that exposes the nerve and blood vessels in the centre of the tooth
  • a displaced tooth, in which the tooth is forced upward, downward or to the side
  • a knocked out (avulsed) tooth.

How tooth injuries are treated

If your child has a loose tooth or a minor chip, take them to the dentist. Your child’s dentist will assess the damage and smooth any sharp edges.

A broken, loosened or knocked out permanent tooth is considered an emergency. For a completely knocked out tooth, gently rinse the permanent tooth in water and immediately place it back in the tooth socket before you take your child to the dentist. In some cases, a knocked-out permanent tooth can be saved if it is replaced right away in its proper position in the mouth. Your child should keep the tooth in place with a finger or by biting on a gauze pad.

If you cannot put the tooth back into the tooth socket, place it in a cup of milk. Do not place the tooth in water, carbonated soda or salt water. Pack the cup in a cooler with some ice and take it and your child to the dentist right away.

Key points

  • Injuries to children's teeth are common and can range from minor chipping to a knocked out tooth.
  • If your child has a loose tooth due to injury or a minor chip, take them to the dentist.
  • If your child has broken, loosened or knocked out a permanent tooth, see a dentist right away. If the tooth was knocked out, rinse it in water and try to place it back in the socket. If that will not work, store the tooth in a cup of milk, in a cooler with ice, and bring it with your child to the dentist.

Reviewed by:​

Michael J. Casas, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C)

4/8/2014




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