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If your child knocks out a tooth while playing or during a fall, you may be able to save it if you swiftly take the proper action. While seeing your child missing a tooth is unsettling, it’s important that you keep calm. Comfort your child if he or she is upset and then take the following steps to save the tooth, if possible, or replace it.

Recover the Tooth

If you can, find and retrieve your child’s tooth. Handling it only by the crown, rinse the tooth in milk. Never touch the root of the tooth as this may cause further damage. After rinsing the tooth, gently and carefully attempt to place it back into its socket and go immediately to the dentist. If you can’t refit the tooth, place it in a container of milk and take it to the dentist with you. If your child is bleeding, have them gently bite down on a gauze pad during the trip to dentist’s office. Call the doctor’s office before leaving or en route so they can prepare for your child’s emergency visit.

For Baby Teeth

Baby teeth eventually fall out on their own, so losing one isn’t necessarily a problem. Your child’s dentist will perform a thorough examination. If he feels that the permanent tooth is coming in soon, he may elect to do nothing about the missing baby tooth. If, however, the tooth is lost too early, the dentist will recommend putting in a small bridge or spacer to hold the remaining teeth in the proper position until the adult tooth slips into place.

For Permanent Teeth

If your child knocks out one of their adult teeth, things get a bit more complicated. The dentist may try to save the tooth by placing it back in the mouth and holding it there by attaching it to other teeth. Over time, the body may form new bone and reattach the tooth on its own.

If not, your dentist from places like Oral Surgery Associates Inc. can discuss tooth replacement options with you. Teeth that can’t be saved are replaced with dental implants or bridges. Both options are able to restore the function and appearance of the teeth.

How to Choose Between Tooth Replacement Options

If your child completely loses an adult tooth, you will have to consider permanent replacement options. Your ability to pay may determine which option you pursue, as a bridge is less expensive than a dental implant, though a dental implant is a much better long-term option as it may last for decades compared to about 5-10 years for a dental bridge. If you have the funds, you may really want to invest in a dental implant.

The loss of a tooth is a dental emergency, but it’s not a cause for panic. Teeth can sometimes be saved. When they can’t, modern dentistry has effective ways to replace them in ways that perfectly mimic real ones. These teeth look and feel so real that no one will ever know the tooth was replaced.

perfectly mimic real ones. These teeth look and feel so real that no one will ever know the tooth was replaced.