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Active children like to run and play, but that also means they may fall and hurt themselves at times, too. Mouth injuries can be a common result of these mishaps, so having some basic knowledge of emergency dental care for kids can help you prevent tooth loss and other problems.

How to Handle a Dental Emergency

In many ways, a dental emergency is similar to caring for any other injury. In general,  you should take the following action in the event of trauma to the mouth or teeth:

  • Check for bleeding
  • Clean the wound
  • Assess the severity
  • Take the injured child to the doctor or dentist as soon as possible

If an adult or a permanent tooth has been knocked out, pick it up (if you can find it!), but be careful not to touch the root. You should gently place the tooth back in your child’s mouth in order to maintain moisture and increase the chances that the dentist can successfully put the tooth back in place. To keep it in place, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests biting down gently on gauze or even a wet teabag. If you can’t keep the tooth in the mouth, place it in a cup filled with salt water or milk to keep the root moist. Even if the tooth looks damaged or broken, bring it along and let the dentist decide if it can be repaired.

With baby teeth, the dentist will decide if the tooth should be replanted or not. According to a report on the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the decision is based on your child’s age, how developed his teeth are overall, and the condition of the tooth itself, as well as how it was transported to the office.

Preparing a Dental First Aid Kit

A dental first aid kit is a great way to be prepared for emergency dental care for kids. It should contain many of the same items found in a standard first aid kit, along with other items to help deal with dental injuries. According to the NIH, items that should be a part of this kit include:

  • Gauze
  • A small cup
  • A cold compress
  • A tooth storage device and fluid

Place the dental first aid kit near your regular first aid kit, in a place where it’s quickly accessible.

Taking the Kids for an Emergency Visit

Any time your child experiences facial trauma, it’s a good idea to consult with a dentist to be sure teeth haven’t been damaged or loosened. Prompt attention from a medical professional can mean the difference between keeping and losing a damaged, dislodged, or loosened tooth. If a tooth has been knocked out, it’s vital to see your dentist right away to prevent infections and control bleeding.