It’s a parent’s worst dental nightmare. Your child is off having fun with his or her friends and gets whacked in the face with a ball/stick/toy/etc. and a tooth becomes loose and falls out. Naturally, you panic. No one wants to see their child hurt. The good news is there are several things you can do to relieve the pain and preserve the tooth.

If the injured tooth that falls out is a baby tooth, there’s no need to spend time trying to save the tooth. An adult tooth will eventually fill its place. Instead, focus on reducing your child’s pain and swelling. First, check to see if there is blood. If so, get a piece of cold wet gauze and have your child bite down on it. Otherwise, grab an ice pop from the fridge and have your child use it to reduce swelling. Plain old ice will work too. If your child can take pain medication, give him/her Tylenol or Advil.

Once the situation has calmed down, call a dentist. This may not be an emergency, but it is still important to make sure the injury isn’t more serious than a lost baby tooth. In the time between the accident and the dentist appointment, keep an eye on your child’s mouth. You may need to move up the appointment if the gums swell, pain gets worse, teeth change color, or a fever develops.

Unfortunately, if an adult tooth is lost, it’s much more serious. For the best chance of salvaging the tooth, you have 15 minutes to get to the dentist or emergency room. Once you find the tooth, try to carry the tooth by holding the body of the tooth, not the roots. It’s important to remember this so you don’t damage the roots.

Place the tooth gently into a container with milk in it. If your child is cooperative, you may be able to place the tooth back in the socket for temporary safe keeping.

Regardless of which situation your family finds itself in, make sure you get your child to Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts after any kind of mouth injury. It’s better to be overly cautious than to find out something is wrong once it’s too late to save an injured tooth. Dr. Makrauer and Dr. Miller can help you and your child through this scary situation.