What to do if a Tooth is Knocked Out?

Unfortunately you may witness a child or an adult lose a tooth, maybe at a sporting event or on a playground for example and you need to know what to do if a tooth is knocked out.  It can be a freaky thing, but the main focus when that happens is to keep calm and try to keep the person it happened to calm.

Knocked-Out-ToothSee also: Broken Tooth? Now What?

If the entire tooth is knocked out, which includes the crown of the tooth (the part that is visible in the mouth) and the root (the part that is usually under the gum line that can’t be seen) try to find the tooth as soon as possible and do the following:

  • Rinse it off gently with water, avoid touching the root.
  • Don’t scrape off any tissue that is on the root. 
  • If possible, insert the tooth back into the socket where it was knocked out from.  Make sure to align it as closely as possible and reinsert.
  • Have the person bite on gauze or something clean to apply pressure and stop any bleeding. 
  • Head to the dentist or emergency room.

If you aren’t able to put the tooth back in, if milk is handy, keep it in a cup of milk and immediately go to the emergency room or to your dentist. Teeth start to die within 15 minutes when dislodged, so time is of the essence.  If milk is not handy, the next best thing is to place the tooth in the person’s mouth that lost it between the cheek and gum to keep it moist or have them spit in a cup and keep it in there.  Don’t keep it in water as it has been known to damage roots of teeth.

One very important thing to note, if a primary tooth or baby tooth gets knocked out, DO NOT try to reinsert it.  You may end up damaging the permanent tooth that is underneath the gum. It’s a bummer, but your child may be missing a tooth for several of their school pictures if they lose the tooth at a young age.

Assess the situation……if the person who experienced the trauma is having trouble other than losing a tooth, they may have experienced a head injury. Forget the tooth and get to the emergency room.  Teeth can be replaced, brains can’t.

If this is a concern to you because you play sports or your child plays sports, a great way to help prevent knocking a tooth out is to wear a mouthguard. You can buy them at your local pharmacy or you can have one custom made at your dentist!

Information compiled from WebMd, ADA, sportsdentistryonline.com and staff at Szmanda Dental Center 2014

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