An unintentional strike or kick to the mouth can easily loosen or dislodge teeth, even if a student is wearing a mouth guard. Once a tooth is knocked out, it has the best chance of survival if replaced within 30 minutes. Kids Health recommends taking the following actions to help preserve a knocked-out, permanent tooth until the student can obtain emergency dental assistance.
Tips to help preserve a knocked out, permanent tooth:
- Find the tooth. Handle it by the crown (the top part), never by the root.
- Gently rinse (don't scrub) the tooth immediately with saline solution or milk. (Use tap water as a last resort. It contains chlorine, which may damage the root.)
- Keep the tooth from drying out until the student can see the dentist by:
- Inserting the tooth back into its socket in the child's mouth if he or she is old enough to hold it in place,
- Storing the tooth in milk (not water), or
- Having the child's parents place the tooth between their cheek and lower gum.
- Go to the child's dentist or your local emergency room immediately.
Other steps to prevent tooth loss include:
- Establishing clear rules of acceptable and unacceptable contact. Prohibit head and mouth shots during sparring.
- Requiring students to wear mouth guards. Require students to wear helmets, along with hand and foot padding, during sparring.