What a fun age: you go to first grade, start learning big things, get real homework, and teeth are falling out all over the place!
As we all know, losing baby teeth is a normal part of life. Some kids look forward to it and others are afraid. Here are some tips and tricks for dealing with lost teeth at school:
- Don’t panic: There is nothing to worry about when dealing with losing baby teeth. Often kids get upset over loose teeth because they aren’t used to that discomfort and don’t understand. Many people panic over a small amount of blood – understand that mouths and lips are very vascular and bleed easily but a regular every day tooth falling out is not dangerous.
- Saltwater rinse: mix 8 ounces of warm water with about a teaspoon of salt and have them swish for about 30 seconds and spit. Repeat this a few times. This will clean the area and also help with some of the pain if they have any.
- Gauze: most lost teeth bleed a little. Unfortunately you might also get the ones that bleed a lot! You should have some 2×2 gauze handy (sterile would be best but non-sterile is ok too), or cotton dental rolls for the child to bite down on to provide pressure to the area. A tea bag also works really well for this (as long as they don’t have an allergy) – soak a black tea bag in warm water for a minute or so and have the child lightly bite down on it. The tannins in the black tea help the blood to coagulate at the site.
- Educate staff: regular loose teeth and lost teeth are not a major emergency. Loose teeth might bleed or hurt before they come out and that is totally normal. There isn’t a whole lot one can do to make that better aside from wiggling the tooth, saltwater rinses and Motrin or Tylenol if it’s really painful. Lost teeth and loose teeth can often be managed in the classroom without a visit to the nurse but a phone call to the nurse to check in on the event is warranted.
- Save the tooth: The kids want the tooth fairy to visit so try and save the tooth for them in a tooth holder, zip lock bag, or small envelope. If the tooth is lost or swallowed (happens all the time, nothing you can do about it as it won’t hurt the child) no worries, the school nurse can give the child a receipt for the tooth fairy as proof that the tooth got lost and isn’t available.
- Celebrate: I’m making a bulletin board this year for the Tooth Fairy Club, and making a stock of certificates to welcome the kids into the Tooth Fairy Club – get yours here: I also have stickers for them if they want one (other stickers).
When is a lost tooth an emergency?
- If a permanent tooth is knocked out: this is a medical emergency. If the tooth is intact, place it back in the socket gently and carefully push it back in to place. Be careful not to touch the root area – only handle the crown or outside part of the tooth. Have the person gently bite down on gauze to hold it in place and seek emergency dental care. Don’t try to put a baby tooth back in.
- If a tooth gets broken but not knocked out: Try to save the pieces if possible. Place the pieces in milk or saline. Rinse the mouth with warm water and call the dentist right away for evaluation.
Do you have any tips or tricks to deal with teeth coming out? Let me know if you have any great ideas!