Is it an emergency when a child knocks out a tooth?

My kids love going to the play area at the mall. At times it can be a little crazy with kids running all over the place, but for the most part, we typically escape with a bump or a bruise here and there. Last week, a little boy had a pretty traumatic injury from what I could see. There was blood coming from his mouth, but I wasn’t exactly sure what happened at first. It turns out the kid knocked his tooth out and all the mom did was stop the bleeding (and the crying) and  let him go back out to play. If that would have been my kid, I would have immediately taken them to the dentist. It seems like an emergency to me so why didn’t she take him right away to get it checked out? Am I overreacting? — Mallory

Mallory,
It’s hard to say what happened. Knocking out a tooth isn’t always a dental emergency – especially when it comes to young children who still have their baby teeth. That’s not to say that he shouldn’t have it checked out in the near future to make sure there’s no other damage to his mouth or to the adult teeth that are yet to come in. It sounds like he recovered fairly quickly so it might not have been as bad as it looked. I’m sure his mom would have done something different if she felt it was warranted.

An older child knocking out an adult tooth is a different story. It would definitely be best to have the tooth implanted immediately if possible. You can save a tooth by placing it in a wet towel, glass of milk or even back in the child’s mouth until he or she can get to the dentist (which should be as soon as possible to achieve the best outcome).

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