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Dental Trauma

What is it?

Dental trauma is an injury to the mouth. You may have a cracked or chipped tooth. Or, you may have a tooth that has fallen out.


Dental trauma can be caused by an injury, an accident, or a fall.

Signs and Symptoms:

Sometimes only a small chip will come off the edge of your tooth. Other times the tooth will crack or break off close to your gums. You may not have pain if you lost a small chip from your tooth. You may feel pain if your tooth cracks down to the soft tissue inside. Your gum will bleed if the tooth comes out.


Call your dentist as soon as you can if your have a tooth injury. Germs called bacteria (bak-teer-e-uh) can get inside a broken tooth. This can cause an infection (in-fek-shun). Your dentist may give you antibiotic (an-ti-bi-ah-tik) medicine to kill the germs. He will talk to you about ways to fix the tooth. See a dentist right away if one or more of your teeth are knocked out. There may be a way to put it back in. Do the following as soon as possible after the tooth is knocked out.

  • Do not touch the root of the tooth. Pick it up touching only the hard white surface.
  • Rinse the tooth in water but do not put it under running water. Put the tooth in your hand or a container that already has clean water in it. Do not scrape or brush the tooth to clean it because that may cause further damage to the tooth.
  • After rinsing, adults should put the tooth back in your mouth while you are on your way to the dentist. Gently try to put the tooth back where it belongs, or you can pocket the tooth between your cheek and gum. This keeps it covered in saliva.
  • A child's tooth should be put it in a cup of milk (or water if you do not have milk) after rinsing. Then take it and your child to the dentist.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.