What to Do If Your Tooth Is Knocked Out

Family playing soccer

When you think about a tooth being knocked out, your mind might focus on a child losing a tooth while playing, when in fact several million teeth are knocked out in both children and adults every year!  If you ever find yourself in this situation, do not panic, your tooth can still be saved! All you need to do is follow these five simple steps and together you and your dentist can save your natural smile!

There is no doubt having a tooth knocked out can be a very traumatic event, but it is important to know staying calm and acting correctly in a timely manner can make the difference between saving or losing the tooth.

Do keep in mind one exception to this is having knocked out of a primary (baby) tooth.  There is no need to replant the tooth since the permanent tooth will come through eventually.

Five important preventative measures to follow if a permanent tooth is knocked out:

Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown

The crown is the part of your tooth you see in your mouth, also known as the chewing surface.  Do NOT pick the tooth up by the root.

Rinse the tooth

Rinse the tooth only using cold running water for no more than 10 seconds.  Place a plug in the sink to prevent the tooth from falling down the drain. It is important to not use any soap or other cleaning product on the tooth.

If possible, immediately re-position the tooth back in the socket it came from

Gently push the tooth with your fingers into the socket by handling the crown.  Once the tooth is properly aligned you can hold the tooth in place with your fingers, a piece of wet tissue, or by biting down on it.

Keep the tooth moist at all times

You can keep the tooth moist by placing it in the socket where it came from.  If this is not possible you can keep it moist in your mouth next to your cheek, in milk, coconut water, or saline.  If you have it available, place the tooth in an emergency tooth preservation kit.  It is important to note, the use of tap water for transportation is not tolerated by the root surface cells.

Contact an emergency dentist within 30 minutes of the accident

It is best to see the dentist with the knocked out tooth within 30 minutes of the accident, however, it is possible to still save the tooth even if it has been outside of the mouth for longer.

Dr. Daniela Bololoi DDS

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REFERENCE: International Association of Dental Traumatology / American Association of Endodontists