First Aid for Tooth Loss

Tooth loss can cause pain, blood loss, and can be a frightening experience – particularly when involving young children. Losing milk teeth is generally not serious and the teeth will grow back, but losing an adult tooth is considered a dental emergency. Applying some basic first aid can help to alleviate pain and could even save the tooth completely.

Milk Teeth (Children)

Generally when a milk tooth is lost the adult tooth will eventually grow through when it is ready. This means that the vast majority of cases where a child’s tooth has been knocked out can be considered to be non-emergency.


Children will quite often be in a distressed state, have blood in their mouths and not understand why they are in pain. Follow these steps to help the child:

  1. Reassure the child and rinse their mouth out with water
  2. Control blood loss by getting the child to bite down on a gauze pad (pictured)
  3. When bleeding subsides, control swelling with a cold / ice pack against the outside of the cheek
  4. Book a non-emergency appointment with your dentist

Helpful hint – Flavoured ice lollies can be a distraction from pain when sucked on within the affected area

Adult Teeth

Adult teeth will not grow back, and in some cases the damage can be irreversible. Emphasis should be placed on trying to save the tooth, and at the same time trying to alleviate the associated pain.


Firstly it’s important to rinse the mouth out with water and control any blood loss by biting down on a gauze pad. Follow these steps when it comes to dealing with the lost tooth itself:

  1. Pick the tooth up by the top part, and not the root (this helps avoid infection)
  2. Rinse the tooth under warm water if covered in dirt, grime etc
  3. Where possible place the tooth back in its original position 
  4. Cover with the gauze pad and ask the casualty to gently bite down
  5. When not possible place the tooth in a clean cup of salty, saline solution or milk
  6. Book an emergency appointment at a dentist

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