No matter how it happens, you’re in the middle of a dental emergency if your tooth gets knocked out. Every year in the United States, more than 5 million women, men, and children get a tooth knocked out, according to the American Association of Endodontists.
A permanent tooth replaces a knocked-out baby tooth eventually. But a knocked-out permanent tooth could leave you with a permanently missing tooth if you don’t act quickly. In fact, you need to get yourself and your tooth to your emergency dentist — ideally within about 30 minutes.
Miracle Smile Dental in Aubrey, Texas, offers emergency dentistry for knocked-out teeth and other dental disasters. Our expert dentist Nisha Modi, DMD, fits you in as soon as possible so that you can save your tooth.
The following guide prepared by Dr. Modi can help you handle a knocked-out tooth. The more you know ahead of time, the faster you can act and save your tooth.
You need to pick up and rinse off your tooth, but don’t touch it by the root. Instead, pick it up by the crown, which is the portion of the tooth that shows above your gums.
Sensitive nerve fibers and ligaments fill the roots. Picking the tooth up by the roots, or touching them at all, could damage them and prevent re-rooting.
If the tooth looks clean and has fallen on a clean, soft surface, you might be able to skip this step. If dirt is anywhere on the tooth, however, you must gently rinse it.
Again, only handle the tooth by its crown. Rinse it in water only. Don’t use soap. Don’t scrub it. Don’t wrap it in a paper towel or tissue paper. You must keep the tooth moist.
Insert the tooth back into the gap. Either gently push down on the crown to secure it or gently bite down to push the tooth into place.
If your child lost a tooth and you fear they may swallow it, skip this step. Instead, go to the next step.
The tooth must stay moist until you reach us. If you can’t put your tooth back in its socket, or if you’re afraid your child may swallow it, put it in a jar or glass of milk - only. Don’t use any other liquid, including water.
You must keep the tooth moist at all times. If you can’t get it back in the socket and don’t have milk, hold the tooth inside your cheek if you’re confident you won’t swallow it.
Have someone call us so we can be ready when you arrive. Even though 30 minutes is the ideal timeframe for replacing a knocked-out tooth, if you get to our office within an hour or more (even if you haven’t been able to reinsert the tooth), we may be able to save it.
The main point is, don’t delay! A knocked-out tooth is a dental emergency. Replacing the tooth with a dental implant is costly and will never be as good as your natural tooth. Try your hardest to save your tooth.
Once we reinsert your tooth, we splint it to the teeth that surround it so that it can re-root itself. Usually, it takes anywhere from 2-8 weeks for the tooth to re-root. We also must perform a root canal to remove debris and dead tissue and stabilize the tooth to save it.