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My Child Knocked Out a Tooth While Playing Sports – What Do I Do?

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dental emergencyAccording to CNBC, more than $800 million could be spent on dental emergencies resulting from Halloween. And while cracking a tooth on a hard candy is certainly a real possibility, pediatric dentists know that it’s not the only dental emergency parents should be aware of.

Springtime has arrived, and that means kids are finally free to get rowdy outdoors. Playgrounds and kickball fields are awash with energy, and sometimes children just get a little too excited and accidents happen. As a parent, you need to be prepared in case your child sustains an injury and knocks out a tooth.

What to Do If Your Child Knocks Out a Tooth

While kids will naturally lose their baby teeth to make room for their adult (permanent) teeth, losing a permanent tooth is a dental emergency. Follow these steps if your child knocks out a permanent tooth.

  1. Find the Tooth
    Comfort the child and locate the tooth. Do not under any circumstances touch the root of the tooth. The root contains important ligaments that are necessary for proper healing. Pick up the tooth by the crown (chewing surface area).
  2. Clean the Tooth
    Rinse with tooth with water, milk, saliva, or saline. Again, do not touch the root. Re-implanting a dirty tooth can cause serious infection, so be gentle but thorough.
  3. Reinsert the Tooth or Store in Milk
    Timing is critical to the survival of the tooth. The Cleveland Health Clinic says that if the tooth is outside of the mouth for more than 60 minutes, it’s chance of survival decreases significantly. That means that if possible, you need to place the tooth back in the socket. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, place it in a clean container of milk to keep the root moist.
  4. Visit a Dentist Immediately
    A knocked-out permanent tooth can reattach if it is held in place for several weeks. The dentist will splint the tooth to the surrounding teeth, and over time, the ligaments connecting the tooth to the bone will regrow.

Did you know that up to 20% of all sports-related injuries in children are maxillofacial injuries? The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reports dental injuries as the most common form of orofacial injury suffered during sports. But this type of dental emergency is entirely preventable. Pediatric dentistry professionals recommend that children wear mouthguards whenever participating in athletic activities.

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