Children and teens often play rough, and sometimes climbing trees and throwing balls around the field leads to knocked-out teeth. Many children and parents panic when a tooth gets knocked out. After all, the prospect of forever having a gap in your smile is pretty disheartening. Knowing how to proceed when your child knocks out a tooth and how the problem is commonly treated will ensure you act calmly and rationally if you do every find yourself in this situation. Let the answers to these frequently asked questions serve as your guide.
What should you do with the tooth after it gets knocked out?
When your child knocks out a tooth, one of the first things you should do is search for the tooth. When you find it, rinse it with clear water, and press it back into its socket. Have your child bite down gently to keep the tooth in place. If the tooth does not stay in place, place it in a container of milk and have your child bite down gently on some gauze to keep bleeding under control. In either case, rush your child to the nearest dentist. The sooner he or she receives treatment, the greater the chances that the tooth will re-establish itself in the jaw.
What should you do if you can't find the tooth?
If you cannot find the tooth after several minutes of searching, have your child bite down gently on some gauze and take him or her directly to the dentist, anyways. Even if you don't have a tooth to reinsert, the dentist will need to make sure there are not any remaining tooth roots in your child's jaw bone. These could lead to infection if left behind.
How can pain be eased until you reach the dentist's office?
Biting down on a piece of gauze should help keep your child's pain under control while you're on your way to the dentist. If your child still is uncomfortable, try holding an ice pack against his or her cheek, near the site of the missing tooth.
How will the dentist reinsert the tooth?
To place the tooth back in your child's jaw, the dentist will likely begin by administering a local anesthetic to prevent your child from feeling pain during the procedure. Then, after making sure the tooth is clear of debris, he or she will place the tooth back into its socket and construct a special split to hold it in place. This splint is typically constructed of wire mesh and composite resin, and is left in place for up to six weeks. During this time, the tooth reattaches itself to the jaw bone and becomes stable enough to stay in place after the splint is removed.
What will the dentist do if the child's tooth cannot be reinserted?
If you were unable to find your child's missing tooth, or if it is too badly damaged to be reinserted into the gums, your dentist will likely replace your child's missing tooth with an implant. Dental implants are inserted surgically. They consist of a metal rod that mimics a natural tooth root and is inserted into the jaw bone, and a porcelain or ceramic crown that looks like a natural tooth.
Dentists generally do not like to insert dental implants in children whose jaws are still growing. Boys' jaws typically stop growing around age 17, and girls' jaws around age 15. If your child is younger than this, your dentist may design a temporary denture for him or her to wear until the jaw stops growing and an implant can be inserted. Once in place, most dental implants last a lifetime and are indistinguishable from natural teeth.
If your child knocks out a tooth, it's important not to panic. This is a common accident among children and teens, and many dentists at places like http://www.dds4smiles.com are skilled at replacing missing teeth, whether your case calls for placing the natural tooth back into the mouth or implanting an artificial one.