KidsMD Health Topics

Teeth Injuries in Children

  • Overview

    Injuries to your child's teeth can occur from falls or during play or sports activities. The injury may be to a primary ("baby") tooth or a permanent tooth. A tooth can be chipped, displaced or totally detached from its socket. Your child may experience bleeding from the area, pain, or increased sensitivity when a tooth is injured.

    What to do if your child has an injured tooth

    • Remain calm and reassure your child that you can help.
    • If the area is bleeding, place a small piece of folded gauze at the site and have your child bite down or hold it in place.
    • Place a cold compress to the swollen area or give your child an ice pop to suck on to help reduce swelling and pain.
    • If a tooth is chipped, collect all the pieces of the tooth. Make sure a piece of tooth is not imbedded in the lips, tongue or gums. Keep the tooth pieces moist in water.
    • Contact your child's dentist for further follow-up and care.
      • Sharp or ragged tooth edges may need smoothed, and further treatment may be needed to preserve the tooth and root.
      • A loose tooth may need to be repositioned and stabilized. A badly injured tooth or loose tooth that can't be realigned may need to be removed.

    What to do if your child's tooth has been knocked out

    • Remain calm and reassure your child that you can help.
    • If the area is bleeding, place a small piece of folded gauze at the site and have your child bite down or hold it in place.
    • Place a cold compress to the swollen area or give your child an ice pop to suck on to help reduce swelling and pain.
    • Hold the tooth by the crown (the top of the tooth), not by the root.
    • If the tooth is visibly dirty, rinse it off before placing it back in your child's mouth.
    • Plug up the sink to prevent losing the tooth down the drain and gently rinse the tooth with running cold water (do not scrub the tooth's root).
    • Place the tooth back in your child's mouth in its socket if he/she will cooperate. Have your child bite down on a gauze pad placed over the tooth to keep it in place.
    • If you can't replace the tooth in your child's mouth, place it in milk or inside your own mouth, between your cheek and teeth to be bathed in saliva. Be careful not to swallow the tooth.
    • Contact your child's dentist immediately for further follow-up and care. The tooth can often be placed back in its socket, but must be done quickly.
    • If other injury to the mouth or teeth is suspected, x-rays of the area may be needed.
    • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be given for discomfort, as needed, or as advised by your child's physician.

    Guidelines to help prevent your child from tooth injuries

    • Teach your child not to walk or run while holding an object in her mouth.
    • Teach your child not to suck or chew on hard, sharp or pointed objects.
    • Have your child wear a mouthguard for sports activities that might cause injury.
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