First Aid for Dental Emergencies

If an avulsed permanent tooth is reimplanted within 30 minutes of the injury, the tooth will survive over 90 percent of the time. (Primary or baby teeth cannot be successfully reimplanted.) If the delay exceeds two hours, the chances of success are less than 5 percent. Therefore, the tooth must be replaced in its socket almost immediately.

If your child has lost a tooth, do the following:

  • Find the tooth.
  • Rinse the tooth under tap water; do not touch the dental roots.
  • Gently reinsert the tooth, making sure it is facing the right direction.
  • Go directly to the dentist while gently holding the tooth in place.
  • Note: If the parent or child is unable (or afraid) to replace the tooth, place it in cow’s milk while seeking emergency dental care.

Displaced Tooth

A placed tooth has not been completely knocked out of the mouth but has been seriously lodged – usually inward toward the tongue, as when the child has fallen on his face or hit in the mouth.

Control bleeding with direct pressure and ice as long as this does not increase pain.

Reposition the tooth, if possible, and gently hold it in place.

Seek dental care immediately. Delaying treatment decreases the likelihood that the tooth will survive.

Loose Tooth

In this case, the tooth is loose but not displaced from its socket. The tooth can be moved towards and forwards (or sometimes up and down).

Loose Tooth Treatment

If your child’s tooth becomes loose:

  • Control bleeding if present.
  • Try to avoid repeated movement of the tooth. Remind your child not to wiggle the loose tooth or chew food until you have spoken with the dentist.
  • Contact a dentist as soon as possible for further advice.

Sensitive or Chipped Tooth

Minor injuries to the mouth or teeth often result in a chipped tooth or increased sensitivity to gentle tapping on the tooth – but the position of the tooth has not changed. In this situation, consult your dentist as soon as possible for further advice.

Beware of Other Injuries

Children with dental trauma often have other head and facial injuries. Appropriate medical treatment should be given in addition to any emergency dental care. A tetanus booster may be considered if one has not been given within the last five years. Do not use aspirin to control pain because it may prolong bleeding.