When Your Child Chips, Breaks or Knocks Out A Tooth

Whether your child chips a tooth eating candy, knocks a tooth out playing hockey or breaks a tooth during a fall, it can be a scary experience for parents. Drs. James and Samuel Owens can assess your child’s dental emergency and execute the proper follow-up care. Call us at 918.455.7700 in case of an emergency.

The good news is that the mouth heals quickly. If you take the right steps at the right time, your child’s cracked, chipped or broken tooth should heal with little to no problems. Follow these steps to ensure your child makes a healthy recovery:

1. Call your dentist right away.

If you don’t keep your child’s dentist’s number in your phone, put it in right now! Any oral injury should be evaluated by a dentist — even if it’s completely minor. There could be a more serious injury present that isn’t as obvious.

For example, if your child cracks one of his or her baby teeth, it may not seem too terrible at first. However, if the tooth is more than half cracked, the nerve may be exposed and require immediate attention.

If your child’s broken tooth is a permanent one, the injury may call for root canal treatment. A primary tooth may not. Also, keep in mind that any tooth exposed to traumatic injury can turn gray, because the nerve may die.

2. Rinse out your child’s mouth.

Salt water will help clear away any dirt, blood or bacteria that may be lingering where the injury occurred.

3. Address soreness, pain and swelling.

Especially if your child took a hit to the face, place a cold compress on his or her face to numb the pain and reduce swelling. Over-the-counter pain medication may also help address the pain.

4. If your child must eat, feed them soft foods.

Feed your child soft foods and tell them to refrain from chewing on the same side as the injury. They should avoid biting down on the broken tooth.

5. If the entire tooth was knocked out, is it a permanent tooth?

After you find the tooth, pick it up from the crown to avoid touching the root of the tooth. If it’s dirty, rinse it under cold water for 10 seconds. Do not scrub with soap. If it is a permanent tooth it should be rinsed and immediately placed back in the socket. Then schedule an appointment with your dentist for the tooth to be splinted. 

6. If a baby tooth is chipped, determine if it left a jagged edge.

If the break has caused a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting their tongue or the inside of their lip or cheek.

7. Be sure to bring the tooth or tooth fragment with you to the dentist.

In some cases, your dentist may be able to reattach the fragment with a dental bonding.