What to Do When a Child Breaks a Permanent Tooth

Aug 19, 2021

Children seem to have a knack for turning something simple into an emergency. Whether it’s a sports-related injury, or possibly just a fall while running, children may injure their teeth. We see this most frequently in the front two teeth. When a primary tooth -typically referred to as a “baby tooth”- gets knocked out, we simply wait for a new one to grow in. But parents also want to know what to do when a child breaks a permanent tooth. Read on for some valuable information!

When a Child’s Tooth Gets Knocked Out

A permanent tooth can sometimes be put reimplanted – that’s when it is put back into its socket. To give your child the best chances at reimplanting their tooth, you should bring them to see us within 30 to 60 minutes, if possible. Luckily, our office provides Sunday hours.

Mouth injuries that are forceful enough to knock out your child’s tooth may also damage other teeth or other structures in the mouth or face. This can include the roof of the mouth, gums, lips, or cheeks. Thus you should always bring your child in right away for a full dental exam to see if the tooth can be reimplanted and whether anything else was damaged.

How to Transport a Knocked-Out Tooth

Once the tooth gets knocked out, the best way to preserve the roots is to pop it back in your child’s socket yourself. That’s because your child’s blood is the safest choice for the tooth. If they are in pain and cannot manage this, use one of the options below. Just keep in mind that time is of the essence!

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.
  • Option 2: Place the tooth in a cup or Tupperware of cold milk.

Saliva Transport

  • Option 1 (Use only in children older than 12 years): Put the tooth inside the child’s mouth. Caution the child to be careful not to swallow it.
  • Option 2: Put the tooth in a cup or small container. Keep the tooth moist with the child’s saliva (spit).

Wet Cloth Transport

  • ​If milk and saliva are not available, wrap the tooth in a wet cloth.

When Your Child Chips or Breaks a Tooth

A broken tooth often warrants an emergency visit to our dental office. In fact, tooth fractures are one of the most common dental emergencies. While broken teeth are a serious matter, there are two types of fractures that are considered non-emergencies.

Minor tooth fractures or chipped teeth do not require an immediate trip to a dentist or emergency room. That’s because these issues pose no threat to your child’s overall health and well-being. Therefore, in such cases, you can simply schedule a regular dentist appointment for as soon as is possible and convenient.

However, emergency dental care is needed for major tooth fractures. A serious fracture is one where a large chunk of your child’s tooth is gone. This condition is often accompanied by intense dental pain – and your child will let you know if this is the case! Under these circumstances, seek out immediate medical attention.

Protect Your Children’s Dental Health

One of the best ways to protect your child’s dental health is to make sure they are an established patient, receiving regular dental checkups. This way, in case there is an emergency, you know exactly who to call, and we will already have your child’s records. Additionally, regular cleanings will keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy, and less susceptible to breakage caused by tooth weakness and decay. Schedule an appointment for your child today. We can’t wait to meet them!