First Steps After Having a Tooth Knocked Out

Accidents happen, and when they involve your face, it’s not uncommon to knock out a tooth. In fact, about 5 million teeth are lost every year due to injuries. 

If it happens to you, you may assume that’s that. Once a tooth is gone, it’s gone for good. But that’s not necessarily true. If you act quickly and follow the right procedure, you may be able to save your tooth and keep it for years to come.

At Oral Facial Surgery Specialists at The Woodlands, our board-certified oral surgeons are experts in emergency dental care. If you’ve been in an accident and have lost a tooth, there’s a good chance we can help you save it. 

To increase the likelihood of your tooth’s survival, follow these steps.

1. Find the tooth

Don’t assume that a knocked-out tooth is a done deal. Teeth have an amazing ability to reattach themselves if given the opportunity and under the right circumstances. So don’t just walk away; find your tooth.

2. Handle the tooth carefully

Your tooth’s best chances for survival and reattachment rely on what you do next and how you handle your tooth. 

The first rule is to never touch the root end of the tooth. That’s the part that broke away from your gums, and you’ll probably see a little blood on it. Hold the tooth by the crown, the top part of the chewing surface. 

3. Clean the tooth

If your tooth landed in dirt or on any other unclean surface that left debris on it, gently clean it off by rinsing it with clean water only. Never use any cleaning products, not even soap. And don’t scrub; just rinse.

4. Put the tooth back in the socket

You’ve just had an accident, and we understand that you’re probably in pain with a lot of blood in your mouth. But if possible, put your tooth back into the socket. If you can push it in within the first five minutes, you increase the survival rate significantly.

Again, holding only the crown portion of the tooth, carefully position the root end into the hole and gently add pressure to nestle it into place. It won’t stay there without help, so either hold it with your finger or gently bite down until you get help.

5. Keep the tooth wet

If you’re able to slip your tooth back into its socket, that’s ideal. But if you can’t, at least keep your tooth moist and ready for us to help by immersing it in a glass of milk. If that’s not available, simply hold your tooth in your mouth between your cheek and gums. 

These are the two best options. Do not keep your knocked-out tooth in tap water, and don’t wrap it in a tissue, because that could damage the root.

6. Come see us immediately

Time is of the essence when you’ve had a tooth knocked out. Ideally, you should get emergency treatment within 30 minutes of the accident for best results. When a tooth has been out of your mouth for more than an hour, it has a far lower survival rate.

Once you arrive at our office, we evaluate your tooth, the socket, and any other dental and facial damage, and treat all related injuries. Our experienced team can help you save your tooth and restore your facial and dental function.

But if your tooth was unrecoverable or didn’t survive the transfer, we can replace it with a dental implant, which looks and acts just like your natural teeth. 

To learn more about facial and dental injuries and how we can help, request an appointment today by calling or using our online tool.

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