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A fall or knock to the face can result in a cut to the lips or tongue, or a dislodged tooth. Mouth injuries can result in heavy bleeding or swelling, which require urgent medical treatment as there is an increased risk of a blocked airway.
If a tooth is knocked out in a collision or fall, knowing the correct first aid may save the tooth.
If your child has had a fall or knock to the face, they may have:
First, always check your child’s airway.
Call an ambulance immediately if:
If your child is breathing OK and bleeding is slow:
If a tooth has come out, and you can locate it, hold it by the crown (the visible part when the tooth is in the mouth) and avoid touching the root. The root can become damaged easily.
If your child’s tooth has come out and you can’t locate it, it is important to have your child reviewed by a doctor, in case the dislodged tooth was inhaled.
If your child has broken a tooth, make an urgent appointment with your local dentist. If there are sharp parts exposed, encourage your child to bite down gently on a damp cloth, to avoid cutting their lips or tongue.
I couldn’t get my child’s tooth back in. How long do we have
to get it back in before a tooth can’t be saved?
If you can get to a dentist or hospital and the tooth can be
put back in within 30 minutes, then there is a good chance the tooth can be
saved. After 30 minutes the chances of a successful reimplantation are reduced
significantly. However, it is still worth trying up to three hours after the
tooth was knocked out, as the tooth may be still be able to be implanted and
Can I use teething gel to help numb the pain in my child’s
mouth after a mouth injury?
Teething gel is not likely to be effective
enough as pain relief for a mouth injury. Local anaesthetic gels can be
prescribed by your child’s doctor or dentist. Simple pain relief medicines
(e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen) can also be used safely.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Community Information and Dentistry departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed October 2018.
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