More than five million teeth are knocked out every year in children and adults. With proper emergency action, a tooth that has been knocked out of its socket can be successfully replanted and last for years. Review, remember and share these steps to saving a knocked-out tooth. Your knowledge and quick action will likely increase the likelihood of saving the tooth! If this has happened to you, see an endodontist or nearest available dentist within 30 minutes of the injury!
Steps to saving a knocked-out tooth:
- Pick up the tooth by the crown (the chewing surface) NOT the root.
Locate the tooth immediately; do not leave it at the site of the accident. The tooth should be handled carefully. Touch only the crown to minimize injury to the root.
- If dirty, gently rinse the tooth with water.
- Do not use soap or chemicals.
- Do not scrub the tooth.
- Do not dry the tooth.
- Do not wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
- Reposition the tooth in the socket immediately, if possible.
The sooner the tooth is replaced, the greater the likelihood it will survive. To reinsert, carefully push the tooth into the socket with your fingers, or position above the socket and close your mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or by gently biting down on it.
- Keep the tooth moist at all times.
The tooth must not be left outside the mouth to dry. If it cannot be replaced in the socket, put it in one of the following:
- Emergency tooth preservation kit (such as Save-a-Tooth®)
- Mouth (next to cheek)
- Regular tap water is not recommended for long-term storage because the root surface cells do not tolerate water for long periods of time.
- See an endodontist or nearest available dentist within 30 minutes of the injury.
Bring the tooth with you to your emergency appointment ideally, within 30 minutes. However, it is possible to save a tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.