According to the American Association of Endodontists, an estimated 5 million adults and children experience a knocked-out tooth every year! When it happens, it can be scary, but if you act quickly, you have a higher chance of saving your tooth. But what steps should you take when you knock-out a tooth? Should you try to return it back to its rightful spot? Continue reading to learn from your dentist what you should do if you encounter this dental emergency.
Should You Return Your Knocked-Out Tooth to Its Socket?
If you have knocked-out a tooth as a result of an injury or accident, you can and should place the tooth back into its socket if you are able to. However, this doesn’t mean that you can just go on like normal and the problem is solved. This is only a temporary step to help keep the tooth alive until you are able to make it to your emergency dentist. The tooth won’t be able to stay in place permanently without help from your dental provider.
What Should You Do When You Have a Knocked-Out Tooth?
Here are some steps that you should take if you knock out a tooth in order to increase your chances of saving it:
- Find Your Tooth: The first thing you should do is find your dislodged tooth and pick it up by the crown. Don’t touch the root of the tooth because you don’t want to cause any additional damage to the soft tissue.
- Clean Your Tooth: If you see any visible dirt, gently rinse off your tooth with water. Don’t use any soap or other chemicals. Avoid scrubbing your tooth or drying it off. It needs to stay moist in order for the root to stay alive.
- Return the Tooth to Its Socket: Place the tooth back into its socket. Gently push it in with your fingers and hold it in your mouth by softly biting down on it.
- Keep Your Tooth Moist: If you can’t get the dislodged tooth back into its socket, you will need to keep it moist in another way. Either keep the tooth in your cheek or place it in a container of milk. Do not use water because the surface cells of the root can’t tolerate this for very long.
- See Your Dentist: Give your dentist a call to let them know you are coming in. Ideally, you should be seen by your dentist within an hour of the injury. Waiting any longer significantly reduces the probability of saving your tooth.
As scary as knocking out a tooth can be, by acting quickly and getting to the dental office as soon as you can, you will have your full smile back in no time!
About the Author
Dr. Tae You earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and spends hundreds of hours each year attending seminars and conferences so he can deliver the best treatment available to his patients. If you have a knocked-out tooth, Dr. You and his team would be happy to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Richardson, visit his website or call (972) 248-9119.