School Nurse Emergency Highlight - Tooth Injury

School Nurses know that not wearing a mouthguard can lead to significant dental injuries for young children playing sports.

Student First Aid - Tooth Injury

Tooth Injury

1. Do not try to put back younger student’s baby tooth that has been knocked out.

2. If older student’s adult tooth has been knocked out, put it back in its socket as soon as possible or in glass of milk, or student's own saliva. Hold tooth by crown and not root as root has delicate cells needed to attach tooth. Have student bite gently on dressing, swab or cloth until they’re seen by dentist.

3. See dentist as soon as possible to secure tooth. Reassure student while waiting for dentist.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why shouldn’t I try and put back a baby tooth that’s been knocked out? Trying to put back a baby tooth may damage the adult tooth growing underneath.

What if a student’s tooth is dirty? The tooth may be knocked into some mud or dirt. Rinse the tooth in some cold water or milk. Do not scrub it or put it in disinfectant, as this will damage the delicate cells on the root needed to attach the tooth back to the gum.

Why is it best put the tooth back in the socket straight away? The cells at the root of the tooth will usually attach firmly back to the tooth socket if done quickly. If the cells dry out and die, the tooth will not attach again. The sooner a tooth is put back in its socket, the greater the chance of success.

What if a student’s tooth cannot be put back in? Put the tooth in a cup of milk or saline to preserve the cells, and see a dentist as soon as possible. The tooth must be kept moist, but not in plain water as it damages the delicate cells. If milk or saline is not available, keep the tooth in the injured person's mouth between their cheek and the gum. If the tooth is kept moist with any of these methods until it is put back in its socket there is a greater chance of permanent recovery.

How can I prevent injury to teeth? Teeth are often damaged in accidents during sports. This can be prevented with a mouth guard.

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