No one ever expects to get a knocked-out tooth. But sometimes these things happen. With quick thinking and prompt dental help, it is often possible to save and reattach the tooth.
First, a little background. A knocked-out tooth is also called an “avulsed” tooth. When this happens, blood vessels and nerves are damaged and need to be repaired or removed, normally via a root canal. But luckily in many situations the original tooth can be saved, if you follow the steps we mention below.
What to Do If Your Tooth Is Knocked Out
- Pick up the tooth very carefully—whatever you do, do not touch the root! This could permanently damage the tooth and make it impossible to reattach.
- Clean the tooth with milk or water. Don’t wipe the tooth on anything to dry it.
- Store the tooth and keep it moist. Either store the tooth in your mouth, in between your gum and your check, or leave it in a cup of milk. If the tooth dries out it will be unable to be reattached.
- Get to a dentist as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes so they can assess the damage and make a decision about whether or not the tooth is reattachable. If your dentist cannot reattach the tooth, they will make the determination about what is the next best step. It’s possible the dentist will need to splint the tooth to the ones next to it (to keep it in place for a little while) in a temporary dental bridge.
Your tooth will repair itself in a number of months, depending on the damage. Your dentist will probably want to check in on the tooth every time you visit the office for the next few months to make sure it’s healing nicely.
Have questions about a knocked-out tooth or anything else affecting your dental health?