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What to do when you or your child knocks out a tooth.

What to do when you or your child knocks out a tooth.

With improving dental health most of us are able to keep teeth for life, however teeth still need to be replaced and often the reason is trauma, the tooth has been knocked out and usually in a sporting accident. This is very common in children and can also happen in adults – what to do?

If your child has an accident and knocks a tooth out, first try and check if it’s a baby tooth or an adult tooth. As a general rule of thumb if it is a front tooth and they are 6/7 or older then it may be an adult tooth, if so it should be quite big whereas a baby tooth will be quite small. We do not attempt to put baby teeth back into place and just accept they will be lost soon anyway but if it’s an adult tooth then it’s important to try and get it back into place as soon as possible.

Try not to handle the tooth too much and certainly not the root.

  1. Find the tooth
  2. If dirty clean by licking with saliva or gently rinsing with water
  3. Re-implant immediately
  4. Bite on a handkerchief
  5. Seek emergency dental care so they can splint the tooth

If you can’t put the tooth back in, place it in milk and seek emergency care immediately.

The Dental trauma UK website gives lots more information and a short video of what to do if you or your child loses a tooth.

Emergency Tooth Repair in Altrincham

It is worth noting that if a tooth has been broken but not necessarily popped out then those pieces of tooth can sometimes be “stuck” back together so it is definitely worth taking the fractured remnants to your dentist.

Other injuries can be that a tooth has been banged and is in a different position, you should also seek dental emergency care for this sort of injury so it can be repositioned or at least assessed.

The same advice follows for adults and re-implanting teeth in adults is just as successful as in children, the key is time. The sooner the tooth is put back into place the more likely it will survive. As the weeks go by after an accident it will become evident if further treatment is required and occasionally a root canal treatment is needed, your dentist will advise if this is the case.


Of course, when children are playing it is very difficult to prevent this type of injury as they tend not to wear mouth guards for general playing around! We would advise the use of a good fitting mouthguard for all contact sports though

  • Martial arts
  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Hockey
  • Ice hockey

Shop bought or custom made mouth guard?

In our experience as parents, shop bought mouthguards can be a bit hit or miss. You have to soften them in hot water and then mould to your children’s teeth, this can be difficult and result in a guard that is poorly fitting, offers little protection and end up not being worn.

Custom made guards made by our dental technicians are no doubt more expensive and many think with all the changes in the teeth being lost naturally and growing in that they wouldn’t last too long. We can adjust these guards as your child grows and make allowances at construction for future development. We also find that a guard will at least last a season and so recommend this is a cost effect solution in the long run. Your child is more likely to wear a comfortable well fitting guard and they will then get the best protection.

Dr Monder Zbaeda
Principal Dental Surgeon
Barrington Dental


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