Tooth Tipped Inward or Outward (Displaced)

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When you understand HOW and WHY things happen, your actions for treatment and prevention are vastly improved.

If you just want to know WHAT ACTIONS TO TAKE, scroll down.

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A displaced tooth from its normal position happens occasionally with mouth injuries. Some are quite severe and are easy to see, but others can be subtle and your child might not notice anything different. If your child comes to you saying something has suddenly changed in their tooth position, inspect carefully. The goal, from the minorly to the majorly displaced tooth, is to get it back into its normal position and hold it there while healing occurs.

Emergencies - Potential causes

  • Any sudden impact to a tooth that severes the ligament holding it to the bony socket (fighting, a fall, car or bike accident, etc.)

Emergencies - Symptoms

  • Child complains of tooth in different position after an impact in the mouth
  • Obvious displacement of a tooth, either inward or outward
  • Chipped teeth around the one(s) displaced
  • May have temporary numbness associated with the impact
  • Pain of varying levels
  • State of shock

Emergencies - Relieve pain

  • This is a true emergency situation where pain relief might be secondary to getting treatment quickly. Treatment timing is critically important for best long-term results.
  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory pain medicines, but NOT ASPIRIN. Typically acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used. These are to be swallowed only and not placed directly on the injury.
  • Ice packs on the face if swelling is external. Frozen vegetables like peas or corn make a good pliable ice pack. Wrap in a small thin towel (even a paper towel) before applying directly to skin in order to prevent freezer burn to the skin.

Emergencies - What to do

A displaced tooth will very often happen with broken bone around the root. It’s important to get the tooth and bone back into their original position and then stabilized during healing.

  1. Stay calm and keep your child calm. Your injured child may be in shock and will look for cues from you about the seriousness of the matter.
  2. Assess the child for other injuries FIRST. If displaced tooth is the only serious injury and the injury is clean from debris such as dirt or bone chips, do the following.
  3. If you can, gently reposition the tooth back to its original place.
    NOTE: there is usually temporary numbness from the injury so the sooner you do this, the less your child is likely to feel pain from repositioning the tooth.
  4. Have your child (or someone else if they’re incapable) gently hold the tooth in position. Call your dentist and get your child there a.s.a.p. while remembering to stay calm.

NOTE: If you can’t reposition the tooth yourself for whatever reason, don’t worry. Just get them to the dentist a.s.a.p. where they can do this.

Back to the List of Emergencies Page

NOTE: Any recommendations given can only be construed as general information. It is impossible for me to know your specific circumstances. I am not your family’s personal dentist. This material should NOT be used to diagnose the presence or absence of any particular ailment. This information is not intended to be a substitute for the services of a locally qualified dental health care professional. Any application of the material found on this website is at the reader’s discretion and is her or his sole responsibility. If there is any question, contact your dentist or other qualified dental health care professional.
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