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What to Do if You Knock Out a Tooth



If you find yourself in the unenviable situation of having lost a tooth, don’t despair! With the right first aid and the attention of a qualified dentist, there’s no reason for your tooth to be gone forever.

Find the Tooth and Keep it Safe

The first thing you need to do after you’ve knocked out a tooth is to find the tooth. Your dentist may be able to reattach it, but only if the tooth is kept safe.

  • When you find it ensure that you pick it up by the crown (the chewing side). Never pick it up by the root, or you could damage it. You should also be very careful when handling the tooth so as not to damage it.
  • Suppose the tooth is dirty, then clean it. The best way to do this is by running it under cold water to gently remove any dirt, but don’t do this for too long as tap water isn’t good for the root of the tooth. Never use any chemicals or soap on a tooth, and don’t wrap it up in paper or tissue, or this might get stuck to the surface of the tooth.
  • If possible, put the tooth back in its socket. This is the best way to keep the root of the tooth alive. Gently place it in the socket and see if you can push it back into place either with your fingers or by slowly closing your mouth. Hold the tooth in place either with a finger or by keeping your mouth shut and using the opposite tooth to hold it in place.
  • If you can’t get the tooth back into the socket, then it’s important that you keep it moist, as this will ensure that the tooth stays alive. Don’t keep it in tap water. Keep it in your cheek so that it is kept moist by saliva, or alternatively, you can put it in milk.

If you can’t find the tooth, then don’t despair! Your dentist will be able to offer a solution to get your smile back to normal.

Get to the Dentist ASAP

The American Association of Endodontists recommends seeing a dentist or endodontist within thirty minutes of the tooth being knocked out if possible. This is because the sooner you see a dentist, the more likely it is that they will be able to save the tooth. Even if it’s up to an hour, the dentist will still be able to help you, but the job is much easier the sooner you see them.

Even if you can’t find the tooth, it’s still important to get yourself to a dentist so that they can address the wound in your gum and ensure that the surrounding teeth don’t move into the gap and ruin the alignment of your teeth.

What Will The Dentist Do?

If you are missing a tooth, then your dentist may speak to you about dental implants. Enhanced Dental Studios have a really informative video on their site about this process, but essentially a dental implant is a false tooth that sits in the place of the missing one. 

If you do have the tooth, the dentist will likely reinsert it with a splint to hold it in place. They will then want a follow-up appointment in a few weeks’ time to check that the tooth is attached correctly.

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