Knocked Out Teeth: How to Save Your Teeth in an Emergency

Contrary to what the movies might tell you, there are other ways to knock out a tooth than getting into a fistfight. One of the most common dental emergencies is knocked out or avulsed teeth, which can occur due to falls, face injuries, contact sports, and more. While this ailment is common, only about 9 percent of adults in the U.S. know what to do if it happens.

Not all hope is lost if you find yourself with an avulsed tooth, but you must act fast. Ideally, you should see your dentist within 30 minutes after losing the tooth or teeth; however, reimplantation occurs after over an hour. With these steps, you can be prepared and more likely to salvage your lost tooth!

What to do if your tooth gets knocked out:

  1. Locate and pick up the tooth by the crown.
    Under NO circumstances should you pick the tooth up by the roots. Hold the tooth at the crown (chewing surface). Be very gentle when handling the tooth and do your best not to damage the roots for greater chances of reimplantation.
  2. If the tooth is dirty, rinse gently with water.
    Rinse the tooth for no more than 10 seconds, only using lukewarm water. Do not use chemicals or soaps. Even too much tap water can kill the root cells needed for successful reimplantation. Do not dry the tooth, wipe it off, or place it in a paper towel.
  3. Attempt to place the tooth back in the socket.
    Placing the tooth back in the socket is the most critical next step until you can get to your dentist. If the lost tooth is wholly intact from root to crown, attempt to place the tooth back in the socket right away. Holding it by the crown, push the tooth into the socket gently. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or very gently bite down.
  4. Keep the tooth moist at all times.
    DO NOT let the tooth dry out; keep it moist at all times. If the tooth will not go back into the socket, you have a couple of options. According to the Mayo Clinic, placing the tooth in your cheek is the best and most natural alternative to placing it back in the socket. You can also place the tooth in milk or an over-the-counter emergency tooth preservation kit if you can access it quickly.
  5. See your dentist within 30 minutes of the injury.
    After your tooth has been knocked completely out, the nerve is severed, and the blood supply is lost, meaning you do not have much time before that nerve dies completely. Call Point Clear Dental Associates immediately to inquire about our emergency services. Please go to the emergency room if the dentist cannot see you in time.
    Depending on the damage, it can take a tooth anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks to successfully reattach into the socket. After the tooth has healed, there should be no need for further services besides your regular check-ups. If the tooth cannot be reimplanted, your dentist will most likely discuss tooth replacement options, such as a dental bridge or dental implant, with you after the socket has healed. 

When life happens, you can be prepared and potentially save yourself from a much more invasive and costly procedure. At Point Clear Dental Aesthetics, we want you fully equipped with the knowledge you need to care for your oral health. 

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Point Clear Dental Associates

18157 Wright Blvd.
Fairhope, AL 36532
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