Tooth Gets Knocked Out

Learn how to cope with an avulsed or knocked out tooth. In an emergency situation time is of the essence.

What to do if you get a tooth knocked out

Getting to a dentist within 30 minutes can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth. When a tooth is knocked out:

  • Immediately call your dentist for an emergency appointment.
  • Handle the tooth by the crown (the part that is normally visible), not the root. Touching the root (the part of the tooth below the gum) can damage cells necessary for bone reattachment.
  • Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt. Do not scrub.
  • Place the clean tooth in your mouth between the cheek and the gum to keep it moist.
  • It is important not to let the tooth dry out.
  • It is not possible to store the tooth in the mouth of the injured person, wrap the tooth in a clean cloth or gauze and immerse in milk.

The dentist should carefully examine the area where the trauma occurred to make sure that a blood clot didn’t form in the socket and that the surrounding tissues are intact (no loose bony pieces). If the tooth is in one piece the dentist will place it back in the socket and splint (immobilize) it to allow the surrounding tissues to heal.

If successful the periodontal fibers might reattach the tooth to the bone and make it feel like it did before the trauma. If this happens the tooth will need root canal treatment after it is stable enough to be worked on.