What should you do when a tooth is knocked out?
Whether in sports or everyday life, accidents happen.
And, in some accidents, teeth may be lost. So, what’s the best thing to do if this happens to you—how should you handle a tooth that has been knocked out in an accident?
We went to some dentists to get their advice.
The first priority is to find the tooth as quickly as possible, put it in a cup of milk if available, or store in the patient’s saliva if no milk is available. DO NOT RINSE THE TOOTH in tap water, as it can and will kill the cells which can enable the tooth to re-attach into the socket. Next, call your dentist; let them know what has happened and get there as fast as possible. Research has shown that if the tooth is replaced into the socket within 1 hour, there is a 90% chance the tooth will reattach and stabilize in the socket. The tooth will eventually need a root canal and a crown, but that is far cheaper and more conservative than an implant. Time is critical, so move fast!
If an adult tooth is knocked out, try to find it—don’t clean it off, just put it in water and get it to the dentist’s office within 30 minutes if possible. The dentist may be able to put it back in. But if the person is injured badly you may have to go to the emergency room instead. If you are not able to see the dentist immediately you should have it looked at as soon as possible whether it hurts or not. Anytime you are hit in the mouth there could be an injury even if a tooth doesn’t come out, therefore it is a good idea to have the dentist check it.
If it is a baby tooth they would not try to put it back in place but it should be looked at to see if there is other damage. If the child cannot close his mouth because teeth have moved or they visibly look like they have moved you should see a dentist right away.
They should immediately put the tooth in milk or water while only touching the crown of the tooth. Then see the dentist right away. If that is not possible, they should rinse the tooth off while only touching the crown and shove the tooth back in the hole until they hear a sucking sound. Then go see their dentist as soon as possible.
If you knock out a baby tooth, don’t worry about it. You have an adult tooth underneath. Although, it is important to see your dentist to make sure you didn’t damage the permanent tooth. If you knock out a permanent tooth and you are in the wilderness or just not close to anything or anybody you can put the tooth under your tongue, just make sure you don’t swallow it. If you’re near your house place it in milk and call your dentist immediately. Don’t attempt to stick the tooth back in the socket, as it may be dirty or contaminated. Your dentist will irrigate or clean the tooth prior to inserting it back in. It is vital to see your dentist as soon as possible after knocking a tooth out.
Getting a tooth knocked out can be a scary situation, but, in all cases, the dentists agree that seeing a dentist ASAP is crucial to avoid the need for a dental implant.
Of course, being prepared doesn’t hurt: An emergency may not be the best time to look for a new dentist, so if you’re currently without one and live near Littleton, CO, Rockford, IL, or Falls Church, VA, consider calling one of the dentists above. Otherwise, check our directory to find a dentist near you!