First Aid for a Knocked-Out Tooth

A guide to what you should do in the event you have a tooth knocked out.

Did you know that more than five million teeth are knocked out each year? The good news is that having a tooth knocked out does not necessarily mean you have lost it for good. If you respond quickly and in the proper way, a dentist can replant that tooth and restore it to its original strength.

Acting fast is critical. You should visit a nearby dentist within 30 minutes.

Here are the steps you should take to help ensure a dentist can save the tooth. You should put these steps into action as soon as you realize what has happened and until you arrive at medical attention.

  1. Pick up the tooth by the crown. Locate the tooth as soon as it is practical to do so. Unless your safety is in question, do not leave the area of the accident until you have found it. Take care when picking the tooth up. Always touch it at the crown—the chewing surface—rather than the root.
  2. Rinse the tooth with water. Rinse the tooth to remove any dirt or other particles. Only use water. Never use soap or any chemicals. There is never any need to scrub the tooth or to dry it, such as with a paper towel or other cloth.
  3. Replant permanent teeth. If the lost tooth is a permanent tooth, attempt to replant it. Handle the tooth gently by the crown. Place it above the socket. Then, continue holding the tooth as you slowly bite down and push it into place. Note: Do not attempt to replant a primary tooth—often known as baby teeth. Doing so can actually damage the permanent tooth that is in the process of growing.
  4. Ensure that the tooth remains moist. The knocked-out tooth should remain moist at all times. If you have managed to replant the tooth, then it will remain so just by being in the mouth. If you could not reposition it, you have several options: keep it in your mouth next to your cheek, place it in milk or preserve it using an emergency tooth kit, such as Save-a-Tooth. While in step two, it is all right to rinse with tap water, you never want to submerge the dislodged tooth in tap water and keep it there. Doing so is bad for the root surface.
  5. Visit a dentist ASAP. Ideally, you should see your dentist within 30 minutes. Most dentists offer emergency appointments for such incidents. While under 30 minutes is optimal, teeth have been restored after having been outside the mouth for an hour or even more.

Save Your Tooth

Having a tooth knocked out can be a scary event. But it is one you can recover from with no lasting damage if you act quickly and take the right steps. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, and the entire team at Scottsdale Dental Excellence are here to help you get through this. You can reach us when you need us at 480 585 1853.

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