Here is a summary of the kinds of things that we see when kids injure themselves. Often these injuries are baseball related, bike wrecks, and the quite common bumping the head of another child. This is a big topic and I will attempt to address the basics here.
1. Tooth Knocked Loose: Sometimes the gums bleed some, the tooth seems loose, but is in the same position as before. Very common. Usually needs no treatment whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. Sometimes, if it is quite loose, we might place a splint to hold it in place while it heals. This looks kind of like braces that are worn for a few weeks. The outcome is usually good. Sometimes a baby tooth will turn dark. See here for more information: My Child's Tooth is Turning Dark!
2. Tooth Knocked Out of Position: This is more serious. Usually, repositioning the tooth is desirable, preferably the day of the accident. Sometimes front baby teeth get knocked backwards so much they interfere with biting properly. Repositioning is important here and is usually done the same day with finger pressure. Sometimes, with a permanent tooth, you can't easily reposition the tooth with finger pressure. Short term orthodontic repositioning is best for these cases. Sometimes a tooth (usually a baby tooth) is pushed up into the gum. This is called an intruded tooth. If the baby tooth is intruded less than 50% of the crown length (the part you normally can see), then it will very likely reerupt back into position with no problem. This takes a few months. If it is pushed up where you can't even see it, then it may or may not reerupt and may need some additional treatment even if it does. If it does not come back down, it may need to be removed. Sometimes there is such damage that it is best to remove it and not wait for reeruption if you think it may be harmful to the permanent tooth. The act of knocking the tooth up there may damage the developing permanent tooth bud. You never really know until the now tooth comes in what actually happened. Usually nothing happens, but the worst you may expect is some kind of blemish or spot (fixable) on the permanent tooth. I remember several patients where the parent thought the tooth was knocked out, but it actually was intruded.
3. Knocked Out Tooth: Well, if it is a baby tooth, just leave it out and place it under the child's pillow for the tooth fairy. It is not worth the risk to the developing permanent tooth to replant it. If you don't like the looks of a space there, we can make a little fixed appliance with a fake tooth, mainly for looks. Click here for more info on Pediatric Partials. Now, if it is a permanent tooth, you really need to follow these instructions carefully because you do want to save the tooth. First, find the tooth. Do not scrub it clean, just put it in a moist environment like milk. Call the dentist right away. He may direct you to rinse the tooth and put it back in right away. Most people don't like the idea of doing that, so your dentist can replant the tooth. It's fairly easy to do. The problem is that even though it is back in, you probably need a splint to keep the tooth in position while it heals. It is best to get the tooth back in as soon as possible. After several days the tooth will need a root canal to remove the now dead inside part of the tooth. There is one exception in that if the tooth is very new and has not developed a full root, it might heal on it's own.
4. Broken or Chipped Tooth: Quite common, especially in older kids. The little chips I often see in baby teeth are usually not much to worry about and can be smoothed out or left alone. Larger fractures might need a white filling to restore the lost tooth structure. By the way, it is usually not a great idea to try and reattach the piece that got knocked off although sometimes that can be done. I know it is quite distressing if a permanent tooth is fractured. Most of the time we can place a filling and the tooth looks good. Even if it is a large fracture, I like to place a filling at first. It may need a crown later as the child gets older, but the fillings usually do quite well and look good. Just remember that if there is a filling there, it might get knocked off with a smaller blow than before. If the fracture is into the pulp (nerve) getting it looked at is more time sensitive (yes, pun intended). There is a greater chance that the tooth may need a root canal the larger the pulp exposure and the longer it is exposed. The younger the tooth, the more likely you may see a good recovery.
5. Root fractures, and Various Other Bumps and Traumas: Root fractures might just need a splint or just observation. They can, however, be serious enough that you may need a root canal or even loose the tooth.
6. Lips, Gums, and Tongues: Well, the mouth has a really good blood supply and therefore bleeds a lot when it sustains a trauma. The good news is that good blood supply usually means rapid healing. Sometimes stitches are needed and most of the time not. It depends on the severity and location. A "Busted Lip" will swell quite a bit, but will usually heal on it's own.
*If a young child has hit his mouth, there is lots of blood especially on his upper teeth lip area, look and see if it might just be a torn maxillary frenum. That's the little piece of tissue that connects the upper lip to the gum between the two front teeth. If it was tight and gets hit and stretched too much it will tear. It bleeds a lot at first, but will likely be fine after 20 minutes or so. Usually no stitches are necessary. In fact there may be no treatment needed at all. This is a very common injury in preschoolers.
Bottom line on all injuries is to see your dentist to get information that is specific for your child.
More info here:
Accidents, Dental Trauma
When to Call the Dentist, When to Go to the Emergency Room
More info here: APDA Dental Emergencies Reference Page