What to Do If You Knock Out a Tooth

Even with diligent preventative dental care, accidents can happen, like a blow to the face, that will hurt your oral health. If you lose one or more teeth due to facial impact trauma, you have a narrow window of time in which you can restore the teeth to your smile successfully.

If this dental emergency occurs during a summer vacation, you might feel more out of sorts because you are away from your home and your usual dentist’s office. But if you know what to do ahead of this scenario, you can take prompt action and have a greater chance of saving these knocked-out teeth, even while traveling. Read on to learn the steps you should take if you accidentally knock out one or more of your teeth.

What to Do If You Knock Out a Tooth

Preserve the Tooth As Well As Possible

If you knock out a tooth, you must urgently make efforts to preserve it if you want to place it back in your mouth. A healthy tooth is connected to the body through blood vessels that travel from the tooth’s pulp to its socket in the gums. When a tooth dislodges, it loses this connection, and the tooth’s health can deteriorate quickly as a result.

Handle the tooth carefully by its crown rather than its sensitive root. Otherwise, you could risk further damage to the tooth. Do not rub at the tooth with a cloth or other material. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it carefully with milk or water.

If you can, place the tooth gently back in its socket. The moisture of saliva will keep it preserved. Do not force it into place though. You can also tuck the tooth into the cheek.

You might also put the tooth into a cup submerged in spit if you worry about accidentally swallowing the tooth. Alternatively, you could keep the tooth in a container with milk or water. Milk works better than water to preserve the tooth because it contains nutrients that can keep it healthy.

Seek Emergency Care from Your Dentist

Time is of the essence if you want to restore a knocked-out tooth to your smile. Call your dentist right away after this accident. Or you can head directly to the dentist’s office. Ideally, this should occur within half an hour of the incident.

Bring the tooth with you to the dentist appointment. The dentist will flush the socket to clean the area. Then they will put the teeth carefully in its spot. They keep it in place using a splint.

Over the next few days, the tooth should reattach itself in the socket. You may require more time to heal if the tooth has fractured.

If for some reason the dentist cannot reattach the tooth, like if the tooth has a deep crack or suffered other structural damage, you can talk to them about tooth replacement options. Ask your dentist if you qualify for comprehensive dental restoration through implant dentistry.