There’s no getting around the sense of panic you’re likely to feel when your child gets their tooth knocked out in an accident.

Most parents will be as shocked and frightened as their children in  that moment, but it’s important to remain calm, both for their sake and yours. If you can do that, then between your fast action and the skillful services of your emergency dentist, things should be just fine.

It’s crucial that you know what to do in this situation to preserve your child’s knocked-out tooth and protect their smile. With that in mind, take a look at this guide on how to respond if your child experiences a dental emergency.

What to do about a knocked-out tooth?

When a tooth comes out of its socket entirely, it’s known as an “avulsion.”

Avulsions are treated differently than most other dental injuries, as in many instances, the tooth can actually be placed back into the socket and allowed to heal on its own. Still, there are some steps you must take to maximize the chances of the procedure being a successful one.

Assess the Damage

The very first thing you’ll want to do is determine whether the tooth is broken off at the root, partially displaced, or totally knocked out. This is significant because there’s a different protocol for each injury, and some are more urgent than others.

For example, a tooth that is completely knocked out can often be reinserted without issue, reintegrating with the bone over time. A partially displaced tooth may need slight adjustment, intervention to repair gum damage and prevent infection, or no treatment to allow the tooth to heal on its own. However, a tooth broken at, or near the root may require a root canal and a crown.

While these issues vary in severity, keep in mind that all of these situations are urgent and require immediate medical attention.

Is It a baby tooth or a permanent tooth?

Next, you’ll want to determine whether the tooth that’s come out is a permanent one. No one wants their child to lose a baby tooth prematurely due to a dental injury, but it’s still preferable to losing a permanent tooth. Depending on your child’s age, a detached baby tooth may not need to be replaced at all.

If the tooth is permanent, however, you’ll want to do what you can to recover the knocked-out tooth, clean it, and safely stow it away until you can pay a visit to the emergency dentist (which should be as soon as possible).

Steps for Collecting the Tooth

Once you’ve determined that the tooth was knocked out completely and needs to be salvaged, your next step is to control the bleeding by grabbing some gauze or a clean cloth and having your child bite down on it. If there’s someone else there who can help you, have them do this while you follow the next steps.

Finding the Tooth

While one person tends to the bleeding, the other should attempt to locate the tooth. It’s important to stay calm during your search while keeping in mind that time is of the essence. The longer it takes to get to the emergency dentist, the less likely it is that the tooth can be put back in place successfully.

Rinsing the Tooth

Once you’ve located the tooth, pick  it up, making sure to touch it by the crown only, not the root. Handling the root could damage the tooth or introduce germs to the part that will contact your child’s gum.

Rinse the tooth gently with cool, clean water. Never use soap or other cleaning products on a knocked-out tooth.

Storing the Tooth

Ideally, you’ll be able to place the tooth back into the socket it came out of. However, the tooth may not stay in place, or your child may be too young for you to trust that they won’t swallow it. In either case, you can always preserve the tooth in a small container of water or milk.

Contact the Emergency Dentist

With the tooth carefully stored, it’s time to get a hold of your emergency dentist. You’ll want to see them as soon as possible, so don’t delay. Once you’ve got them on the line, they’ll let you know what to do next, sharing helpful information about any necessary procedures.

When in Doubt, Call the Dentist

Whether your child’s tooth was  pushed out of place, broken, cracked, or completely knocked out, your dentist will know how to remedy the situation.

If you’re panicking and having trouble following the steps in this guide, as a result, reach out to your dental professional right away. They’ll help you to remain calm and provide you with the best advice possible.

In need of a Prince Frederick or Waldorf Pediatric Dental Clinic?

Parents need to act quickly during dental emergencies. We Make Kids Smile can help.

Contact us today to get the assistance you need to find a happy resolution to your stressful situation.

Do you have a question? We can help!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Schedule An Appointment




3460 Old Washington Rd, #200
Waldorf, MD 20602

Prince Frederick

Prince Frederick

Prince Frederick

540 Main Street
Prince Frederick, MD 20678


Email Us


Find us on Facebook

Welcome Back