Chances are that when you lost your baby teeth, you were excited. But when one of your permanent teeth gets knocked out or becomes loose, it’s considered a dental emergency.
A knocked out tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies in the United States, with about 5 million teeth being displaced each year. The good news is that it’s possible to save and restore your tooth — if you act fast.
The dentists at Dental Studios in Summit and Westfield, New Jersey, specialize in treating knocked out teeth and other dental emergencies. Here’s a look at the steps you should take immediately if you experience a knocked out tooth.
1. Keep your head
Having a tooth knocked out can be scary and even panic-inducing. But it’s important to stay calm so you follow the right steps, enabling us to preserve your smile.
You have about an hour to seek emergency dental care with a good chance of restoring your tooth. Once you’ve taken a breath, call Dental Studios immediately and let us know that you’re on your way.
2. Safeguard the knocked out tooth
After you’ve recovered your knocked out tooth, you need to safeguard it by handling it the right way. Never touch the root. Handle the tooth by the crown (the part you use when you bite or chew).
3. Clean the knocked out tooth carefully
If your tooth was only knocked loose, or if it fell out but didn’t land on the ground, floor, or other surface, don’t rinse away the blood. Your Dental Studios provider prepares and cleans your tooth before restoring it, and it’s safer for you to leave it alone.
However, if your tooth fell on the ground or other surface, rinse away any debris or dirt before taking the next step. Use only water or milk to rinse the tooth. Never scrub, scrape, brush, or rub the tooth — even if some of the debris sticks to it.
A gentle rinse helps preserve the delicate connective tissues that may get ripped away with the tooth when it’s knocked free. If you damage these tissues by using force when you clean it, your dentist might not be able to restore your tooth.
4. Try replacing the tooth
If you can put your knocked out tooth back in its socket as soon as possible after it comes out, your chances of saving the tooth increase. This is because your mouth and the tooth’s socket is the best way to protect the root and maintain the moisture necessary for reattachment.
To do this, hold your tooth by the crown, and then carefully set it over the socket. Once you have it in the right place, slowly close your mouth to gently urge the knocked out tooth back in place.
Don’t force a knocked out tooth back into its socket. If your tooth won’t easily fit back in place, move on to the next step.
5. Keep the tooth moist
For patients who can’t get their knocked out tooth back into its socket, it’s important to quickly find an alternative way to keep it moist. Don’t wrap the tooth in a cloth or paper wrapping because this could dry it out and make it impossible for your dentist to reattach.
Instead, submerge your tooth fully in a container of saliva, milk, or saline solution. If this isn’t possible, keep your tooth in your mouth next to your cheek and avoid touching it with your tongue.
Never place a knocked out tooth in regular water. Drinking water contains minerals and chemicals that will damage the cells on your tooth’s roots and make it impossible to reattach.
6. Remember, time is of the essence
If you can’t get to us within an hour, get to us as soon as possible. It's sometimes possible to restore a tooth after an hour — if you’ve followed the steps above and carefully protect the tooth. If you’re away from home, call your nearest emergency dental provider right away.
If your knocked out tooth can’t be saved, the Dental Studios team offers a variety of solutions to replace missing teeth and restore your smile.
Get excellent emergency dental care for your knocked out tooth by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Dental Studios in Summit or Westfield, New Jersey.