As mentioned before, my husband and I tend to be magnets for trouble. This time? A chipped tooth.

If their chipped or even if the whole tooth is knocked out, a dentist probably won’t do much for baby teeth. They’ll be replaced later by adult teeth anyway. So treat for pain and bleeding.

Adult teeth, on the other hand, you want to take care of immediately. Chances are pretty good that a dentist can fix or replace the tooth or at least mitigate the damage done. So make an emergency appointment immediately.

Handling the tooth or tooth piece is actually the difficult part; there are actually several rules you should follow when handling a broken or knocked out tooth. First, don’t touch the root. You can damage it if you do. It’s best to touch the tooth by the crown (the white part you chew with). Second, do not run it under water. You should rinse your mouth with warm water, but not the tooth.

This is where it gets a little cringey. If you can, put the tooth back in place in the empty socket in the mouth. Hold in place with gauze or some sort of fabric. It is important not to do this with a baby tooth because it can cause damage to the permanent tooth underneath. If you can’t stomach that or are having any other problems, keep the tooth moist by placing it in milk or saliva, preferably from the mouth the tooth came out of. Saline solution also works, so if you were contacts, the saline solution for that also works. If none of these are available, just hold it between the gums and lower lip and don’t swallow it. AND DON’T PUT IT IN WATER.

To help protect teeth, wear mouth guards and protective gear where appropriate and watch for foods that can wear down the enamel including sweets and acidic food. And of course, brush your teeth and floss daily.  

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