When a child has a baby tooth knocked out, chipped or broken, the experts at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advise parents to take the following steps:
- Contact your child's dentist immediately.
- Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling
- Spend time comforting your child rather than looking for the lost tooth. Baby teeth cannot be replanted under most circumstances.
- If you can find the broken tooth fragment, take it with you to the dentist. (This holds true for adult teeth, as well.)
- The dentist may opt to make a special appliance to replace the missing tooth so your child's smile will be normal again.
"Young children are always looking at one another's teeth. It's a big part of interacting. I don't see any harm in putting a baby tooth back in to determine if it's stable. And if it's not, then to the tooth fairy," says Dr. Martha Anne Keels, a pediatric dentist in the department of surgery and pediatrics at Duke Children's Hospital, Durham, North Carolina.