Children are active, and sometimes broken teeth happen. Parents should be aware of a few things when evaluating a broken tooth. We have some questions and tips to help in case of tooth trauma.

Is it a baby tooth or a permanent tooth?

Remember that baby (primary) teeth are not permanent, so your child’s tooth can grow back after they lose it. A dentist should look at the area to make sure there is no further damage. But most likely, a broken baby tooth is not an immediate emergency. A chipped or cracked permanent tooth needs quick dental attention. The dentist will decide on the appropriate treatment and explain the options. Also, regardless of whether the tooth is primary or permanent, discomfort should be addressed. If your child is experiencing pain, call the dentist who can treat the tooth and any pain.

Look at your child’s broken tooth

Is the tooth badly broken or just mildly chipped? Is the tooth completely knocked out? Minor chipping may involve filing the tooth until it is smooth. This leaves your child’s smile intact and gets rid of sharp edges. Large chips may require bonding. Of course, if a permanent tooth gets completely knocked out, visit a dental emergency center right away. First, locate the tooth. If it is possible to put the clean tooth back into the socket, you can try that. Do not try to force it because you may cause further injury or pain. Another good plan is to place the tooth in milk, saline, or saliva and bring it with you to the emergency dentist. If a baby tooth gets knocked out you can typically just leave it out; it was going to fall out eventually, anyway.

Follow these steps while you wait to see a dentist

For bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops.

Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth, cheek, or lip near the injury area to keep any swelling down.

Only give your child soft foods to avoid any further damage to the broken tooth.

Help your child rinse his or her mouth with salt water. A good rinse would be around one half teaspoon of salt, mixed in one cup of warm water. Salt prevents bacteria and aids in healing.

If your child is in pain from the broken tooth, give them an over the counter pain reliever. Always follow the label directions and any doctor’s orders for your child. Never put a painkiller against the gums because it can burn the gum tissue.

Poor oral hygiene will weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to damage. You can protect your children from tooth decay and broken teeth with proper brushing and flossing, sticking to regular dental appointments, and fitting them with a mouth guard for youth sports.