Dental Trauma: Handling a dental emergency

A dental emergency can happen at any age but knowing what to do when trauma occurs is crucial. If your child’s tooth or mouth get knocked contact your dentist immediately to get some advice or be seen.

Children that are learning to crawl or walk are prone to falling over. In fact, many injuries in young children occur during these first few years of life. Although part of normal development, significant damage can occur to teeth if injured and left untreated.

During the first years of life, the primary teeth are very closely related to the permanent teeth, which are forming inside the bone. When an injury occurs to the primary teeth in this period, it can affect the aesthetics of the permanent teeth, which will present at approximately eight years of age with whitish marks or a deformation in the crown depending on the extent of the injury.

The most serious lesions on the primary teeth can cause complications to the permanent successors; ie. intrusion (when the tooth is buried in the gum) and avulsion (when the tooth is knocked out). Both situations are more serious the younger the child is. The primary tooth should not be replaced once it has been knocked out.


If your child knocks their baby (primary) tooth out:

  1. Do not attempt to put it back in
  2. Seek an immediate opinion from a dentist and take the tooth along with you
  3. If you are unsure whether it is an adult or baby tooth store the tooth in milk and visit your dentist


If your child knocks their adult (permanent) tooth:

  1. Find the tooth. Hold the tooth by the crown (the white part), not by the root (the yellow part).
  2. If contaminated, rinse gently with milk, saline or saliva (it is always better for the tooth to be wet than become dry)
  3. Put the tooth back in place and keep secure by biting on a clean handkerchief/cloth
  4. If you can not put the tooth back in, place it in a cup of milk.
  5. Seek immediate dental treatment

Children between 7 and 10 years of age are more exposed to suffer avulsion due to the elasticity of the bone at this age. Good oral hygiene is crucial to allow good healing.


If your child is almost due for their next check up, you can make a booking by calling us

on (02) 9188-0202 or going online here.


This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics and to help begin the conversation with your children’s dentist. It should not be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care professional prior to incorporating this as part of your child’s diet or health regimen.

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