What to do When a Tooth is Knocked Out
It’s a bright Sunday morning. You take your ten-year-old to a flag football game. Ten minutes later he comes running over holding his front tooth in his hand. His tooth was “knocked out”. In dentistry, we called this “avulsed”. You are not alone in your travail, five million teeth are knocked out annually in the United States. This malady is most common in children and very active adults.
What to do First
- Place a piece of gauze, teabag, or rolled tissue over the socket to stop bleeding and allow the child to calm down.
- If it’s a baby tooth, simply stop the bleeding by having the child bite down (applying pressure) on the gauze. Baby teeth are NOT re-implanted. Occasionally the space that has occurred must be maintained with a space maintainer to prevent overcrowding and orthodontic work in the future.
- Never touch the tooth by the roots. There are important fibers (periodontal ligament) that must be preserved for proper re-implantation. Hold the tooth by the crown (chewing surface).
- If soiled, gently rinse with milk. If milk is not available gently rinse with water. Do Not wipe the tooth. We must keep the tooth MOIST.
- Immediately (as quick as possible) place the tooth back in the socket. Make sure to line up the front side of the tooth with the rest of the teeth in the mouth.
If cannot place the tooth in the socket, there are four options:
- Place tooth in mouth and have it held by the side of the cheek.
- Have the child spit into a small cup and place the tooth in saliva.
- Place the tooth in a cup of milk.
- Place the tooth in a cup of water.
Time is of the Essence
- Call the Dental office or Emergency Room and have treatment ASAP.
- If a tooth is placed in the socket within 5 minutes there is an excellent chance for survival.
- If a tooth is placed in the socket within 5-60 minutes there is a very good chance of survival.
- If a tooth is placed in the socket after 60 minutes the chances of survival greatly decrease.
- It will need to be splinted.
- The tooth will need root canal therapy.
- If the bone is intact and the tooth in good shape, the tooth will reattach to the bone in 3-4 weeks
- If the bone was damaged, it will take 6-8 weeks to reattach.
- If a tooth falls out due to disease (i.e. periodontal disease) it cannot be re-implanted.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Prevention is the key bit of advice in terms of getting teeth knocked out. The ADA has stated that people who do NOT wear mouthguards while playing contact sports are 60X more likely to suffer dental injuries and tooth trauma.
Book an Appointment Today
Regular check-ups, good oral home care, a healthy diet, and occlusal guards all lead to a safe well-protected mouth. The doctors and staff at Midtown Endodontist are looking forward to seeing you. Book an appointment now.