Usually, children lose all of their baby teeth by the age of 13. This process is a normal part of growing up: Baby teeth fall out and permanent "adult teeth" grow in during these formative years.
However, when your child loses a permanent tooth as a result of an accident — a sports injury, for example — you need to act quickly. If permanent teeth fall out before they are ready to come out, it could lead to malocclusion — where permanent teeth become crowded because there is little space for them to grow in your child's jaw. Here's what you should do in this situation.
1. Take Proper Care of the Tooth
More than 5 million teeth are knocked out by children and adults every year in the United States. Dentists refer to these teeth as "avulsed" and are able to replace them in most circumstances. Many parents don't know what steps to take in the interim, however.
The most important thing to do is to avoid handeling the avulsed tooth and get to the dentist within an hour. Don't rinse it in water or try to clean it off. Try and keep the tooth in your child's mouth. The salavia will help keep it naturally moist. If that is not possible, the next best thing is to gently place the tooth in milk or saline until you can get to your dentist.
2. Try to Place the Tooth Back Into Its Socket
You can try to put your child's tooth back into its socket if you act swiftly. Hold the tooth and gently reinsert it into its original position. This will be more successful if your child keeps the tooth in his or her cheek after the accident or injury.
Once you have placed the tooth back into its socket, seek assistance from a dentist, who will inspect your child's mouth and gums, and check the nerves and blood vessels for signs of damage.
3. Talk to Your Dentist
Talk to your dentist if your child knocks out a permanent tooth and you are unable to place it back into its socket, too. Space maintainers, for example, hold open the space between the missing tooth and the gums until the permanent tooth is ready to fall into place. This piece of kit prevents adult teeth from coming in crooked and causing further issues.
Alternatively, your dentist might suggest an implant or a bridge, which can replace your child's missing tooth. Again, this stops permanent teeth from becoming malformed and reduces the chances of your child having to wear braces as a teenager.
If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, don't panic — this is more common than you might think. However, it's best to act quickly to prevent adult teeth from becoming crooked or crowded. Try to place the tooth back into its socket, then speak to your dentist, who will be able to provide you with a temporary solution to this problem.