What Happens if My Tooth Gets Knocked Out?

One of the most common dental emergencies for people to experience is a tooth knocked out – or “avulsed” – tooth. Although scary, knowing what to do and acting quickly are the most important steps to saving your smile.

There Will be a Lot of Bleeding

Your mouth is full of blood vessels. During an emergency such as a blow to the mouth, you’ll see a lot of bleeding as a result.

While the bleeding can be scary, it’s a good thing. It means that there’s plenty of opportunities to help save your knocked out tooth if you act fast. It’s your body’s way of making sure you don’t develop an infection and that the wound heals quickly.

But first, apply a firm amount of pressure to your mouth, using a clean gauze or washcloth. If bleeding does not subside (such as in instances of clotting disorders or if you take certain anti-coagulation medication) then head to the nearest emergency room.

Act Fast

Locate your tooth. If it appears to be completely whole, you’re in luck! Gently rinse the tooth under a slow stream of water to remove any visible debris. Do not touch the tooth root, as this will displace the tiny fibers across the surface that will help to aid in reattachment. Handle it only by the crown (the part that you normally see above the gums.)

Reinsert Your Tooth

As unnatural as it may sound, the ideal situation is to place your tooth immediately back into the socket that it came out of.

Do not force it. Either your tooth will go back in, or possible bone damage will prevent it from doing so.

If you’re successful at reinserting the tooth, bite down on a gauze or clean cloth and head to your dentist’s office immediately.

Store Your Tooth Properly

If you can’t reinsert your tooth, then the right kind of storage will make a difference in if your tooth is salvageable when you get to the dentist’s office. It also prevents you from accidentally losing your tooth!

Put your tooth in a sealed container if possible (one with a lid, such as what you would keep food in.)

Your tooth needs to be completely submerged in liquid and kept moist. The best liquids to use are milk, contact solution, or some type of saline. Tap water should only be used as a last resort; if used, add a pinch of table salt.

Another option is to tuck your tooth inside of your cheek, keeping it completely moist with your body’s own saliva.

Depending on where you are when your avulsed tooth emergency takes place, the first aid kit may have a tooth kit that contains a special formula and bottle for your knocked-out tooth to be kept in.

See a Dentist Immediately

For the best success in reimplanting a knocked out tooth, you need to see a dentist within 1-2 hours. Waiting longer will significantly lower your chances of being able to save it.

Most dentists will be able to accommodate such dental emergencies as quickly as possible, even if it’s after hours. The key is to have a provider on hand that you know and trust; hopefully, one you’ve already been seeing for years!

If you have a knocked out tooth, contact a Kois Center dentist near you immediately.