If your child comes running up to you because they accidentally knocked out a tooth, you need to know how to handle it. Just because a tooth has been knocked out doesn't mean that it has to stay knocked out. There are things that you can do that will help the tooth start healing.
Handle It By the Crown
You want to make sure that you are only handling the tooth by the crown end. That is the part that you chew with. If you grab the root, you run the risk of damaging the root, which will mean that there is a risk that the tooth won't correctly seat itself back into its socket, and your child's tooth won't heal correctly. If they lost an adult tooth, that can be a real problem in the future.
Gently Rinse off Debris
You want to make sure that you rinse off any debris off the tooth. You don't want to put it under a hard stream of water. Just rinse it off, very gently. After you rinse it off, you don't want to dry it or wrap it up in a cloth. That can also damage the root of the tooth.
Put it Back Where it Belongs
If you can, you should put the tooth back into the socket. Don't try to force it. If it doesn't easily slide back in, you could cause damage to the socket, which could cause an infection in the jaw.
Keep it Moist
If you can't get the tooth back into the socket, you need to make sure that you keep it moist. Put it in a cup with enough milk to cover it. An alternative to milk is that you could have your child spit in the cup enough to cover the tooth, but that is a lot of saliva to have to come up with, so milk is generally much easier. The cells in the root of the tooth don't like water very much, which is why you want to stay with milk.
See a Dentist
Whether you can get the tooth back in the socket or not, you need to get in to see your dentist as soon as possible. It may be possible to put it off a day or so if you are able to get the tooth back into the socket, but you should call your doctor immediately so that they can help you make the right choice.
A knocked out tooth doesn't have to stay that way. You can put it back in so that it can heal. For more information, contact local professionals like Northwest Dental Services and Implant Center.