What Should I Do If My Tooth Is Knocked out on Accident?
A knocked out tooth is a frequent cause of emergency dental visits. In fact, about 5 million teeth are knocked out annually in the United States. Follow these simple tips and you will improve your odds of saving your tooth and your smile.
1. Be alert to any sign of head injury.
Fights and sports injuries are the most common causes for a tooth being knocked out. It is important to be alert for any signs of severe head injury such as loss of consciousness, nausea, or a headache that gets progressively worse or persists. Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone else experiences these symptoms after any blow to the head.
2. Control bleeding.
Tooth injuries often bleed. You should apply pressure with gauze at the site of the missing tooth until the bleeding stops.
3. Handle the tooth carefully.
Try to locate the tooth and pick it up very carefully by the crown. Avoid touching the root to prevent further damage to the tooth.
4. Gently clean the tooth.
Rinse the tooth with water. Do not scrub the tooth or clean it with soap. It is important to keep the tooth moist, so do not dry it with a towel or wrap it in tissue.
5. Replace the tooth in the socket when possible.
Replace the tooth gently into the socket with the fingers if possible. Replacing the tooth in the socket will keep it moist and help it survive. It is important that you hold the tooth in place by gently biting down on it or holding it with your fingers. Be careful not to swallow the tooth as this can pose a serious choking hazard. If you are helping someone else reposition their tooth, make sure they can safely hold it in place without any danger of choking.
6. Do not attempt to replace a primary (baby) tooth.
You should not try to replace the baby tooth, and you should seek immediate advice from your dentist. Replacing the tooth could cause damage to the underlying permanent tooth that is forming. Children also may not have the ability or understanding to hold a tooth in place, putting them at greater risk for choking.
7. Avoid storing the tooth in tap water.
It is crucial that you keep the tooth moist; however, long-term exposure to tap water can damage the root. If you cannot temporarily reinsert the tooth, it is preferable to place it in milk.
8. Call your dentist immediately.
You should see your dentist as soon as possible after the injury. The sooner you act, the greater the likelihood you can save the tooth. If your dentist is unavailable, you should head to your nearest emergency room. You should also contact your dentist immediately if a previously injured tooth begins to change color.