Sporting accidents or other trauma can result in teeth being knocked out. Sometimes it is possible to save a tooth that has been completely knocked out of the mouth, and it can be successfully re-inserted and may last for many years. Quick action greatly increases the chances of this happening, and the sooner the tooth is reinserted the higher the chances of success.
What to Do If You Knock Out a Tooth
- Pick up the tooth very carefully, making sure you only touch the crown of the tooth (this is the part of the tooth that is normally visible above the gums).
- Rinse off any dirt with plain water, but don’t try to remove any pieces of tissue that may be still attached to the roots.
- If you can, try to re-insert the tooth by pushing it back into the tooth socket, making sure it is facing the right way forward. Either hold the tooth in place with a finger, or keep it in position by biting on it very gently.
- If you cannot face trying to reinsert it yourself then store the tooth in a little milk. If there is no alternative then use plain water, but this is not a good idea for longer periods of time as the water will affect the tooth roots. The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist, so do not wrap it in cloth or tissue.
It is vital to visit your dentist as soon as you can after the accident, ideally within the first half an hour, but reinsertion might still be successful an hour or even longer after the tooth was knocked out. If you can’t get to your dentist then go to your nearest emergency room, but you will still need to see your regular dentist as soon as possible.