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Here’s what to do if your child knocks out a tooth:

If it’s a baby tooth…
Dentists will not replace baby teeth that are knocked out. Broken ones may be filed down to smooth away rough edges, repaired with a composite material, or removed entirely if the break is bad. So if it’s a clean break, you may not need to do anything. If it’s a partial break or your child is showing significant pain, see your dentist.

Baby teeth that get bumped out of place can in most instances be shifted back in place. Since missing baby teeth can cause permanent teeth to come in crooked, dentists will try to save them whenever possible.

If it’s a permanent tooth…

1. Act quickly. Time is of the essence; the faster the tooth is reinserted, the better the chance it will “take” and can be saved.

2. DO NOT clean the tooth. YOU SHOULD put it in a glass of milk (or place it inside your cheek) and get the child to the dentist right away.

3. It helps to call the dentist first to say you’re coming, so that they can be ready to act when you arrive.

If a child chips a tooth
Put the piece of chipped tooth in milk too (or inside your cheek), since it’s sometimes possible to reattach a badly chipped tooth.

If a permanent tooth can’t be saved
If the re-implant doesn’t take or if a permanent tooth can’t be saved for another reason, a child will probably be fitted with a false tooth attached to a retainer. A broken tooth can be covered with a crown or cup, or bonded with either a fake piece or the broken part of the tooth. A permanent dental implant will have to wait until around age 18, since it can’t be implanted while a child is still growing.

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