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  • Tooth Injury

    Definition

    • Injury to a tooth

    First Aid Advice for Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth

    • To save the tooth, it must be put back in as soon as possible. 2 hours is the outer limit for survival.
    • Right away is best. If more than 30 minutes away from dental care, try to replace the tooth. Put it back in the socket before coming in. Use the method below:
    • Rinse off the tooth with saliva or water (do not scrub it).
    • Replace it in the socket facing the correct way.
    • Press down on the tooth with your thumb. Do this until the crown is level with the tooth next to it.
    • Have your child bite down on a wad of cloth. This will help to stabilize the tooth until you can reach your dentist.
    • Note: Baby teeth can’t be re-implanted. (Give it to the Tooth Fairy!)

    Transporting a Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth

    • If not able to put the tooth back in its socket, follow these instructions:
    • It is very important to keep the tooth moist. Do not let it dry out.
    • Transport the tooth in milk or saliva. Milk is best per American Dental Association (2003).
    • MILK TRANSPORT OPTION 1 (best). Place the tooth in a small plastic bag with some milk. Put the plastic bag in a cup of ice.
    • MILK TRANSPORT OPTION 2. Place the tooth in a cup of cold milk.
    • SALIVA TRANSPORT OPTION 1. Put the tooth inside the child’s mouth. Be careful not to swallow it. (Exception: Age less than 12 years old)
    • SALIVA TRANSPORT OPTION 2. Put the tooth in a cup. Keep the tooth moist with child’s saliva (spit).

    Types of Tooth Injuries

    • Loosened tooth – May bleed a little from the gums. Usually tightens up on its own.
    • Displaced tooth (usually pushed inward)
    • Chipped or fractured tooth
    • Avulsed (knocked out) tooth – a dental emergency for permanent teeth

    When to Call Us for Tooth Injury

    Parent Care at Home If:

    • Minor tooth injury

    Care Advice for Minor Dental Injuries

    Cold:

    • For pain, put a piece of ice or a popsicle on the injured gum.
    • Do this for 20 minutes.

    Pain Medicine:

    • To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.

    Soft Diet:

    • For any loose teeth, offer a soft diet.
    • Avoid foods that need much chewing.
    • You can go back to a normal diet after 3 days. By then, the tooth should be tightened up.

    What To Expect:

    • Tooth pain most often goes away in 2 or 3 days.

    Call Your Dentist If:

    • Pain becomes severe
    • Cold fluids cause tooth pain
    • Tooth turns a darker color
    • Your child becomes worse

    Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

    Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
    Copyright 1994-2013 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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