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Baby teeth are small in size and have small roots anchoring them into the jaw. They are quite easily knocked-out during the normal roughhousing that children get up to. Here are five tips to keep in mind when faced with such a situation.

A child’s baby teeth will all fall out and be replaced by their permanent successors — a fact that sadly gives some people the false impression that these teeth are "disposable". 

The baby teeth help a child chew, maintain space in the jaw until the permanent successor is ready to emerge, and play an important role in the development of the speech. This is why it is a loss when a baby tooth is knocked out by accident.

As a parent, you are quite likely to come across a situation where your child knocks out a tooth. It can be a scary situation with a lot of blood, screaming, and tears. Here are five tips that you must keep in mind to tackle the situation effectively.

Keep Calm

This may be the obvious thing to say — but panicking is the last thing you want to do. A tooth can be knocked out in a number of different ways. A fall, sporting injury, fight, bumping into things, or even drinking from a bottle can all result in a literal blood bath that leads to the sad death of a tooth. 

The bleeding can get so heavy that you may not even be able to see what's going on in the mouth. There may also be some cuts to the lip or the cheek, which can further add to the confusion.

A baby tooth being knocked out requires dental attention — but milk teeth aren't actually replanted like permanent teeth can be. A child of six years or younger is likely to have only baby teeth in the mouth, a child of between the ages of six and 13 will have both milk teeth and permanent teeth, while a child over 13 is likely to have only permanent teeth in the mouth.

If you are not sure whether the tooth that was knocked out is a baby tooth, store it carefully in milk, saline, the inside of the cheek, or in Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution (available at pharmacies) and prepare to get to the dentist as soon as possible.

Try to control the bleeding

Wash the child's mouth so that you are actually able to gain a better understanding of the damage that has occurred. A wet, clean, cloth or some cotton can be used to control the bleeding from the lip and the cheeks. Mild pressure to the cuts outside the mouth will help stop the bleeding.

The bleeding from the socket of the knocked-out tooth will stop on its own. All the child has to do is to stop spitting repeatedly and keep swallowing.

If the taste becomes unpleasant because of the blood, you can advise the child to drink a sip of water rather than rinse their mouth. The reason behind this is that the blood clot will get dislodged during spitting and forceful rinsing, which will prevent the bleeding from stopping and then worsen the situation.

Check for a serious injury

Once the child has calmed down a little and the bleeding has stopped, check for any serious injuries that the child may have suffered. A head wound, a possible fracture, a piece of glass in the skin, or other such injury should take precedence over dental treatment.

Knocking out a baby tooth is not treated as a dental emergency. A dentist is only going to check for other injuries to the cheek, tongue, or gums and then ask the child to come back after the initial shock of injury has worn off a little.

Do not try and replant the tooth yourself

A milk tooth does not need to be replanted at all, however, even if you mistake it for a permanent tooth, attempting to replant it yourself is not advised. A dentist has to make a number of considerations before replanting a permanent tooth — like the damage the tooth has suffered, the time the tooth has spent outside the mouth, and the method in which it was transferred.

All of these things change the treatment plan, so don't take matters into your own hands.   

Schedule a visit to the dentist

Depending on your access to the dentist, it is advisable to set up an appointment as quickly as possible. The dentist will be able to confirm whether the tooth that was knocked out is actually a baby tooth or not, check for other injuries to the jaw, and prescribe a suitable pain killer or antibiotics as needed.

As a parent, you can help prepare food that is not spicy and soft in texture. Chewing may be painful for the child and any sorts of spices can hurt the empty socket. Maintaining good oral hygiene is also very important, so you may want to help the child brush his or her teeth if they are young enough to need this kind of help.  

Once the initial healing stage is over, the dentist will advise whether there is any need for a space maintainer or treatment to the neighboring teeth.

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