Although losing a tooth through an accident or injury may seem like a problem without a solution, dentists may be able to reinsert knocked out teeth. On this basis, you may rush your child to an emergency dentist if they lose a tooth accidentally to get it put back in; however, the dentist may not agree to a reinsertion. Why won't your dentist try to put your child's tooth back?

What Kind of Tooth Did Your Child Lose?

The stage of your child's tooth development is likely to play a part in the decision whether to reinsert a tooth or not. Typically, dentists won't try to put a baby tooth back in place if your child loses one early by accident. There is no permanent gap issue here as baby teeth will ultimately be replaced by adult teeth.

Plus, trying to reinsert a baby tooth may cause damage to the adult tooth that sits in that particular gap, and your dentist is unlikely to want to risk damaging a permanent tooth. You stand a better chance of having a tooth reinserted if your child has lost an adult tooth; however, the success of this procedure depends on certain factors.

How Quickly Did You Get an Emergency Appointment?

If your child has knocked out an adult tooth, your dentist may be able to save the tooth; however, this doesn't always work. To get a tooth back in the gum successfully, you need to see a dentist as soon as you can after the tooth has been knocked out. Ideally, you'd get an appointment within half an hour of the accident or injury.

If you've not been able to get to a dentist quickly enough, the ligament in the tooth may die. If this happens, your dentist may advise against reinserting your child's tooth. If the tooth is dead, it won't be able to grow back into the gum.

Tip: If your child has lost an adult tooth, it's worth trying to protect the tooth and keep it alive until you can get to your emergency appointment. For example, they can hold the tooth carefully in their mouth to keep it bathed in saliva. If you or your child are worried about swallowing the tooth by accident, you can also store the tooth in milk until you see your dentist.

What's the Condition of the Tooth?

Your dentist may not agree to reinsert a tooth if the tooth is too damaged to go back in your child's mouth. For example, this may not be a feasible solution if the tooth broke when it came out or if some of the tooth is left in the gum.

If your child has lost a baby tooth, you may simply have to wait until the adult tooth comes through to fill the gap. If the tooth was lost very early, leaving a gap that might affect the development of your child's adult teeth, then your dentist may ultimately choose to put a spacer brace in the gap to hold it open. If your child's adult tooth can't be reinserted, you'll ultimately have to talk to your dentist about ways to fill the gap with a false tooth solution such as a bridge or implant.