Tooth Trauma Guide for Baby Teeth and Permanents

Unfortunately trauma to the front baby teeth is common. When trauma occurs, the tooth can either be knocked right out or pushed up into the gums.

If your child has a dental injury make sure you see the dentist right away. Sometimes no treatment is required; other times, the tooth may need to be pulled or other treatments done to save the tooth.

The mouth heals quickly. If the tooth is knocked out, the gums will take a week or two to heal. If the redness continues or if your child is complaining of pain for more than a week, contact your dentist. Your child may have an infection.

Usually losing a baby front tooth early will not affect the development of permanent teeth. Sometimes the eruption of the permanent tooth can be delayed, but this is usually not a problem. If the baby tooth was pushed up into the gums, it can bump into the developing permanent tooth leaving a white mark. This can be dealt with when your child is older if it is an aesthetic problem.

What to do iff a baby, toddler, or young child injures the gums or baby teeth:

  • Apply pressure to the area (if it's bleeding) with a piece of cold, wet gauze. If your child is old enough to follow directions, ask him or her to bite down on the gauze.
  • Offer an ice pop to suck on to reduce swelling, or hold an ice-pack wrapped in a washcloth to the cheek.
  • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed for pain.
  • Call a dentist.
  • Watch for swelling of the gums, pain, fever, or a change in the color of the tooth.

What to do if a permanent tooth is chipped or broken:

  • Collect all pieces of the tooth.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm water.
  • Call a dentist right away to schedule a visit.

What to do If a Permanent Tooth Is Knocked Out

  • Seek medical care Go to the dentist or emergency room right away after following these steps:  
  • Find the tooth. Call a dentist or emergency room right away if you aren't sure if it's a permanent tooth (baby teeth have smooth edges).
  • Hold the tooth by the crown (the "chewing" end of the tooth) — not the root.
  • Place the tooth in a balanced salt solution (a commercially available sterile product), if you have it. If not, place the tooth in a container of milk or your child's saliva. You also can place the tooth between your lower lip and gum.
  • Do not store it in tap water.
  • For older kids and teens, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. Have your child bite down on gauze to help keep it in place.
  • If the tooth is stored in a container (rather than back in the socket), have your child bite down on a gauze pad or handkerchief to relieve bleeding and pain.