3 Steps to Take If You Have a Knocked-Out Tooth

Dec 13, 2023
 3 Steps to Take If You Have a Knocked-Out Tooth
Having a tooth knocked out is frightening, shocking, and potentially dangerous, depending on the trauma responsible for loosening the tooth. But if you act quickly and follow three simple steps, there’s a good chance you can save the tooth.

It takes substantial force to knock out a healthy tooth. Yet, it happens to 5 million children and adults every year, often following dental trauma caused by a fall, sports injury, bicycle accident, or car crash.

Britney Beard, DDS, can reimplant and save your tooth, but only if you act quickly. You have the best chance of preserving the tooth if you seek emergency dentistry services at Fremaux Dental Care within 30-60 minutes.

Take these three essential steps to protect your health and preserve the knocked-out tooth:

Step 1: Stop any bleeding

You should be able to stop the bleeding by placing a clean cloth over the socket and biting down. If the bleeding is extensive or doesn’t stop, or you have signs of a broken jaw, you should go to the emergency room (ER).

In the event you need to go to the ER quickly for severe trauma, someone else can follow steps 2 and 3 to preserve your tooth.

Step 2: Protect the tooth root

Protecting the tooth root is essential if you want the tooth to thrive after we put it back in the socket.

Tiny fibers (periodontal ligaments) cover the tooth root. These fibers attach the tooth to the bone and support the blood supply.

As long as the periodontal ligaments stay alive, they can regenerate and support the tooth after we reinsert the tooth. Unfortunately, the fibers die if they’re out of the socket too long, and the implanted tooth eventually dies.

You can protect the root by always picking up the tooth by its crown (the part of the tooth visible in your mouth) and following step three.

Step 3: Keep the tooth moist

Rinse the tooth under water if the root is dirty. Don’t use soap or try to scrub it. Hold it by the crown and let running water flush away any dirt.

A successful tooth reimplantation depends on keeping it moist. Use one of the following techniques within five minutes:

Submerge the tooth

Keep the root moist by putting it in a small storage container (ideally one with a lid) and covering it in milk. Don’t use water. If you don’t have milk, use saliva to cover and protect the tooth.

Put the tooth into its socket (for teens and adults)

One way to protect and moisten the root is to place the tooth back in its socket. Gently bite down or hold the tooth to keep it in place until you get to our office.

We don’t recommend this technique for children because they might accidentally swallow the tooth.

Hold it in your mouth (for teens and adults)

You can also protect the tooth by holding it between your gums and cheeks. While this keeps it moist, holding the tooth in one area without moving it may be hard. This technique is also not recommended not for young children.

Use a tooth preservation kit

Your local (or online) pharmacy carries emergency tooth preservation kits that you can get ahead of time and have on hand for emergencies. 

The kit includes a small container filled with a sterile solution. You put the tooth in the solution, put the lid back on the container, and get to our office as quickly as possible.

Call Fremaux Dental Care immediately if you or your child has a knocked-out tooth. Remember that you have the best chance of saving the tooth if we implant it within one hour.