Whether you’re playing a sport or just took a bad fall, teeth can get knocked out. There is no need to panic! Often times teeth can be replaced, and it not a false replacement can be placed. If you aren’t able to salvage your original tooth—don’t worry! You can still have a tooth that looks and feels real.
What to do if a tooth is knocked out:
1. Don’t panic—Keep calm and take action. If you are able to salvage the original tooth, you need to act quickly. So, take a deep breath and follow these steps.
2. Apply pressure to stop bleeding—If you’ve just had a tooth knocked out, you likely have a blood situation on your hands. Use a damp towel to apply pressure to the area to stop the bleeding. If it does not stop bleeding within 30 minutes, seek medical attention.
3. Gently pick up the tooth by the crown—Be careful not to touch the root of the tooth. If the tooth is salvageable, the root will need to be untouched. Ideally, you will be able to place the tooth back into place, but for this to work, the root needs to be unaffected.
4. If the tooth is dirty, clean it—Rinse the tooth very gently and briefly with water. If the tooth isn’t dirty or bloody, leave it as is.
5. Keep tooth moist—As you take the tooth to the dentist to see if you can salvage it, place it in liquid. It should be put in milk, in your mouth, or in an emergency tooth preservation kit. Don’t use regular tap water, root surface cells can’t tolerate tab water for extended periods of time.
6. See a dentist ASAP—You should see a medical professional as soon as possible. Be sure to bring the tooth with you. For the tooth to be salvageable, it will need to be re-implanted within the hour of it being knocked out.
What will happen at the dentist:
Each case will be different. In some cases, placing the tooth back in place is very simple, whereas other times it’s more complicated—particularly when the tooth or bone is broken.
First, your dentist will flush the socket, and ensure it is clean. Then they will attempt to re-implant the tooth by slipping it back into place. If needed, your dentist may also perform a root canal. This can be done right away or may be done later—depending on how long the tooth has been out of place. There are also other factors that can determine when a root canal will happen.
In any case, an avulsed tooth can be splinted to surrounding teeth with a soft wire or composite material. The splint may only be needed for a few days or may be needed for longer.
In cases where the bone has been fractured, the root will need to be firmly reattached to the gone. This can take around 3-4 weeks. The more damage there is, the longer it will take, possibly up to 6-8 weeks. Your dentist should check the tooth 3 to6 months after the re-implantation to ensure that all is going well, and most importantly that there are no signs of infection. There should be another follow-up appointment 2 to 3 years later.