Dental Emergencies: What Should You Do?


It’s an unfortunate reality that many parents out there refuse to believe that their child’s baby teeth are important. (Although, it has been proven time and time again that these temporary, baby teeth are vital. In fact, they can impact the health of the permanent, adult teeth when they come in.) On the bright side, many parents worry when something is off with their child’s permanent teeth. These are the teeth that will stay with them throughout life, after all. One big problem that parents should worry about when it comes to their little one’s adult teeth? If their child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth. Believe it or not, it’s a genuine dental emergency.

What to Do When Your Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth

Let’s be honest, sometimes children aren’t as careful as we’d like them to be. Our kids are always running, jumping, and falling off of things. So, it might not come as a huge surprise when our child breaks the news that they lost an adult tooth.

It’s not the end of the world!

First, take a deep breath and remain calm. Not only is getting worked up bad for your own mental health, but little ones can easily sense when we’re anxious. So, remaining calm is the best way to keeping everyone tranquil during this dental emergency.

If possible, look around for the tooth. If you aren’t sure where the tooth fell out, ask your child to recall where they were when it was knocked out. If there are other things on the ground surrounding the area where the tooth was knocked out, try not to shuffle things around too much or too abruptly as to not potentially damage the fallen tooth. Teeth are strong, but they aren’t indestructible!

But it’s still critical to take action (and quickly)

Not everyone knows what to do when their child knocks out a permanent tooth, but allow us to inform you.

Once, and if, the tooth has been found, pick it up by the crown. This is the top (biting surface) part of the tooth. Refrain from holding it from the bottom (the root) where it’d normally rest inside the gum tissue.

Next, gently place the tooth in a glass of milk. This helps keep the tooth moist, and thus, alive in the meantime. Never place it in regular tap water as root surface cells will not survive in this environment for long. If you don’t have milk, you can also have your child (if they are old enough) keep the tooth moist inside their mouth next to their cheek. Or, if you happen to have an emergency tooth preservation kit on hand, you can also use this to keep the tooth alive and well. Don’t worry if the tooth is dirty; leave it be for now. Always refrain from cleaning it, scrubbing it, or applying soap and water to it.

Immediately, it’s time to head to the dentist. If you feel the need to, you may call up the dentist on a hands-free device while on the way to the dentist with your child and their tooth. However, this is an emergency situation that does not necessitate an appointment. Any good, licensed dentist would surely understand.

Ways a Dentist Can Help

You might be anxious right now, but not to worry: dental professionals know exactly what to do when a child knocks out a permanent tooth.

First, the dentist might try to place the tooth right back into the empty socket of your child’s mouth. Eventually, the tooth may reroot and be good as new. It’s best to let a dentist do this and to refrain from letting your child (or yourself) place the tooth back in on their own.

Unfortunately, the latter result isn’t always possible. If the tooth didn’t get preserved properly or if the tooth broke in multiple pieces, for instance, the dentist may instead suggest tooth replacement options for your child. Yes, it’s unfortunate for a child to have to get an artificial tooth. However, they have been proven very useful for both younger and older populations. These installations are very simple and successful a majority of the time. Not to mention, these artificial teeth look, feel, and function very realistically. Your child will completely forget that they even have a tooth implant!

Don’t Take a Missing Adult Tooth Lightly

Some parents might not worry too much about their child losing an adult tooth. “It’s just one,” they might think. In reality, that one tooth can make a world of difference.

One missing tooth can cause a child’s teeth to shift in ways that they shouldn’t. Your child may struggle to eat depending on the tooth that was lost and where it was originally in the mouth. Worst of all, other kids might start to bully your son or daughter. Or, they might struggle with self-consciousness, anxiety, or depression as a result of their missing tooth.

What is more, when one permanent tooth is lost, and nothing is done as a result, a child might become more careless about the state of the rest of their teeth. Don’t let this emergency incident make your child feel jaded about their oral health as a whole. Get them to the emergency dentist, and let them know how important it is that they get treatment or replacement for this missing tooth.

How to Prevent a Child from Losing a Permanent Tooth

Has your child already lost a permanent tooth? Or, maybe they haven’t just yet, but they’ve had their fair share of oral health incidences. So, you may worry that a missing tooth one day may happen. Either way, there are preventative methods to ensure your son or daughter doesn’t lose an adult tooth (or lose another one).

These preventative methods are vital:

  • Ensure your child wears a protective guard while playing sports or participating in other activities that require or recommend such.
  • Get your child out of the habit of biting on hard objects such as ice cubes, jawbreakers, and the like. (If they don’t knock out your child’s tooth, they can certainly chip them or at least damage their tooth enamel!)
  • Make sure your son or daughter upkeeps their daily oral health ritual. Failure to care for their teeth can cause weak teeth that might be more prone to breaking or even completely falling out.
  • Double-check that your kiddo is using fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Is your child diabetic? Make sure they’re taking extra precautions with their oral health and, not to mention, that they properly follow their diabetes treatment protocol.
  • Take your child to their biannual dental visits to ensure their pearly whites are in a healthy, strong state that prevents them from being more likely to experience a dental emergency.
  • Feed your child nutritious meals each day.
  • Intervene if your child or teen develops a drug or alcohol problem, which makes it more likely for tooth loss to occur.
  • If your has a loose adult tooth, take them to the emergency dentist right away. Failure to do so might lead to the tooth falling out.
  • Never fail to take the situation seriously when your child knocks out a permanent tooth. You probably can’t wait another day; go to the dentist now.

It’s time to take charge, parents!

Whether your child is a toddler or in high school, it’s your responsibility as the parent to implant the idea of good oral health into them. Youngsters are more likely to be careless or genuinely less understanding of how critical good oral health is. Make sure they realize that you care about their oral standing, even if they don’t. Tell them that they will appreciate it later down the line (and they definitely will). They’ll thank you sooner or later!