How to Save a Knocked Out Tooth Before You Get to a Dentist

Dentist Blog

If you have an accident and knock out a tooth, all may not be lost, and your dentist may be able to reinsert it. But you have a short period of time in which to work here. According to Sports Medicine Australia, teeth stand the best chance of successful reinsertion if you can get them back into their sockets within twenty minutes. Act fast and take care to protect the tooth to increase your dentist's chances of putting it back in place permanently.

Try to Reinsert the Tooth

You can often reinsert a tooth that has been knocked out cleanly by simply slipping it back in its socket. Note that this is a temporary measure that only protects the tooth until you can see a dentist. To reinsert a tooth permanently, your dentist needs to check the tooth and socket and splint the tooth into place.

If the tooth is dirty, clean it first to avoid transferring bacteria to your socket. Hold the tooth by its crown – the bit that sticks out into your mouth – and don't touch the root. If you damage the root, you have less chance of a successful reinsertion. Rinse the tooth, ideally in milk. If you don't have milk handy, give it a quick rinse in water. Leave the tooth wet, as drying it may damage the root. 

When you're ready to reinsert, make sure that the tooth is the right way around. Hold it by the crown, position it over the socket and gently push it back in. If you can't get it in with your fingers, put the tooth into position and bite down. Once the tooth is in its socket, pad up a tissue, put it over the tooth and bite down on it to keep the tooth in place until you get to the dentist.

Warning: Don't try to reinsert a baby tooth into a child's mouth, as this may damage the adult teeth growing in to the socket. Call your dentist and ask if your child needs to be checked out.

Can't Reinsert? Keep the Tooth Wet

Although the socket is the best place to store a knocked out tooth, you may not be able to get it in easily. If you can't put it back in position, try the following steps to stop the tooth from drying out:

  • Put it in a container and cover it with milk or saliva. Don't use water unless you have no other option. According to the American Association of Endodontists, water may damage the tooth's cells over time.
  • Alternatively, put the tooth in your mouth, so that your saliva can protect it. Position it between your cheek and your teeth. If you take this route, be really careful not to swallow the tooth.

Get to a Dentist

As soon as you've reinserted or stored the tooth, go to a dentist. If your dentist is not open, your local hospital may have an emergency dental clinic. Alternatively, search for emergency dental services in your area in a telephone directory or online.


20 October 2015

Unraveling Dental Myths about Children: A Blog for Parents

When I had my first child, I was a nervous wreck. Every book I read gave different advice, and I just wanted to be right! By the time I had my third child, some of the stress had abated. I now realised, there were tons of different perspectives on everything related to raising children including dentistry. To help parents, I have created this blog dedicated to unraveling dental myths about children. I am including posts that weigh both sides of issues such as thumb sucking, dental caries, breastfeeding, flossing and any other topic I can think of. I hope you find the information you need to unravel dental myths, but most importantly, I hope you find some peace of mind. With kids and dentistry, there can be more than one right answer, and I want you to be able to relax and go with the answer that's right for you.