What to do if a tooth gets knocked out

Spring is here in full force, which means warmer weather and all of the wonderful sports and activities that come with it. Now that we’re all crawling out of hibernation and getting more active, some minor accidents are bound to occur. The American Association of Endodontists reports that “More than five million teeth are knocked out every year in children and adults.”

Typically these accidents occur during sports or other physical activities, and most of the time, the tooth can be successfully replanted if proper emergency steps are followed.

If a tooth is knocked out, do not panic. Pick the tooth up by the crown (the part you chew with) and not the root. Gently rinse it in water only. Do not scrub, use soaps or chemicals, or dry the tooth! You’ll want to keep the tooth moist. Ideally, you should plug the tooth back into the socket and hold it there with your finger. If this is not an option, you can place the tooth in a glass of milk, hold it inside your mouth (against your cheek), or use an emergency tooth preservation kit. Do not store the tooth in water, as this can damage root surface cells.

As soon as the tooth is in a moist place, head to your nearest dentist or endodontist immediately. Ideally, you should see one within thirty minutes of the accident to maximize the chance of successful replanting. Be sure to bring the tooth with you!

In most cases, if these steps are followed, the tooth can be successfully restored. Remember:

  1. Don’t touch the root
  2. Keep the tooth moist
  3. See a dentist right away

You can enjoy the beautiful spring sunshine and all of the fun that comes with it, and rest assured that even when minor accidents occur, your dentist has you covered!

Dr. Mary E. Peebles-Turner cares for patients in Broomfield, Colorado. To learn more about her wonderful practice, visit her website at http://www.broomfielddentist.com/