dental trauma

Dental Trauma - What to do?

Dental trauma is an injury to the teeth and/or gums and soft tissue of the mouth such as tongue and lips.

Dental trauma is very common in toddlers and pre-school age children under 6 as they go through the 'bump and bruise' stage of life while they master coordination of their bodies. Falling over or knocking teeth on tables is very common. If your child's baby teeth have been knocked out or broken it is still important to take your child to see us as damage to their baby teeth may lead to damage of their future permanent teeth if not treated.

As we get older dental trauma is often the result of a blow to the face , a knock during sport or even eating food that is hard. By the age of 15 years old you have one in four chance of suffering trauma to your front teeth. The risk of damage to permanent teeth can be greatly reduced by wearing a custom made mouth guard during sport.

A broken upper front tooth. The layers of tissue that make up the tooth are clearly visible, with the pink pulp standing out against the paler dentine and tooth enamel.

Picture by By James Heilman, MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

What should you do if a permanent tooth has been knocked out?

  • First check that the person does not have any other injuries, If they seems seriously hurt call an ambulance.
  • Find the tooth/teeth and if dirty gently rinse in milk or sterile saline solution from a chemist. (Use plain water as a last resort), holding the crown of the tooth. Do not rub or scrub the tooth root.
  • Put the tooth straight back into place in the mouth.
  • If you cannot put the tooth in place in the mouth put the tooth straight into a glass of milk, not water.
  • Book an appointment to see us, we can make room for dental trauma patients so please mention this over the phone or go to the nearest hospital as soon as possible - even if you cannot find the tooth.

At Butler Dental we will clean your mouth and try to put the tooth back into the right place in your mouth. We will have to place a "splint" onto the teeth to keep the tooth in place. This will usually stay on for two weeks and its placement is a simple procedure. You may be given antibiotics, we will also ask if you are up to date with your tetanus injections.

You will need to gently clean your teeth and rinse with salt water and make an appoint to see us again in a weeks time.

If the tooth has not been knocked out but is cracked or a part of the tooth crown has been snapped off it is very important to get to see us a soon as possible so we can clean the tooth and try to save the tooth root. It is also important to visit us if you have received a blow to the teeth and the gums have bled.