Q: What should I do if my child loses a permanent tooth?
A: If a baby tooth gets knocked out completely, notify your dentist. However, he or she typically won’t attempt to re-implant it. Researchers have found that missing baby front teeth do not affect speech or function.
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However, if your child already has adult teeth and loses one of those, someone must re-insert it as soon as possible. Whoever is nearby — a parent or coach, for instance — should gently, but quickly clean the tooth and push it back into the socket. This is very important.
If a tooth cannot be re-implanted immediately, it is imperative that you save it properly. Use cold milk or a product called Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution for best results. Saliva can also work. Never store the tooth dry or in water, contact lens solution or yogurt.
There will be bleeding and a clot that’s forming. Once it forms it fills the space and you can’t get the tooth back in.
Consult your dentist without delay. The sooner a dentist re-implants the tooth, the more likely it is to survive. In fact, any delay longer than one hour offers a poor prognosis.
—Pediatric dentist Trista Onesti, DDS