Deal with a Knocked Out ToothIt’s all fun and games until someone loses a tooth

A knocked out, or “avulsed,” tooth is a dental emergency. If you act quickly, you can save the tooth and undo the damage.

If you lose a tooth, you must see a dentist or endodontist right away.The sooner you get help, the more likely it is that your dentist will be able to save the tooth. Although experts disagree on the exact amount of time, the critical period for keeping the cells in the tooth’s root alive is between five minutes and an hour.

Find the tooth as soon as possible. If it has fallen to the ground or become dirty, quickly and gently rinse it in milk or water. The tooth needs to be kept moist while you are waiting to get it repaired.

The best place for your tooth is the socket it came from. If possible, place it back into the socket without touching the root. In many cases an avulsed tooth will easily slide back into the socket. Make sure it is facing the right direction. Hold it in place with a finger or by gently biting down on some gauze.

If you can’t get it into the socket without touching the root, your tooth can be kept in your mouth between the cheek and gum. You can also store it in milk or in an ADA approved tooth preservation kit. Do not store it in tap water, as the sensitive root surface cells will die.

Once you arrive at your dentist’s office, the tooth will be put back into the socket and you will be checked for other facial or dental injuries. A wire splint will keep the tooth in place for the next few weeks, and the dentist will determine the next stage of treatment. If treated quickly enough, the root will reattach to the bone and the original tooth will be preserved.