DENTAL EMERGENCY: What to do after you or your child has knocked a tooth out?

A woman with a tooth ache holds the side of her face.Once a tooth gets knocked out, it may successfully be re-implanted and returned to normal function. However, the key lies in what happens during the critical period while the tooth is outside of your mouth.

What to do for a child whose tooth has been knocked out

Baby teeth are more prone to being knocked out than permanent teeth because the top portion of the tooth is a lot longer than the root.

There are two options you have if your child has knocked his/ her baby tooth out:

(1)  Have the tooth fairy come early. If your child’s tooth was already loose because the permanent tooth below it was about to come in, the  best option for you is to leave the tooth out. The permanent tooth should erupt normally. The first natural baby tooth loss usually happens around late age 5 or early age 6.

(2) You can try to save the baby tooth by re-implanting it only if the following conditions are true:

A) If your child is three years old or younger.

B) If the root of the tooth is intact.

This is something that only you and Dr. Silberman can determine after talking about the risks and benefits. The safest way to do so is to simply deposit the tooth in a sealed container of milk and bring it into the office with the child immediately. Don’t try to re-implant a baby tooth on your own. It can damage the developing permanent tooth beneath it.

What to do for an adult whose tooth has been knocked out

If the root and crown portions of the tooth are both intact, there are a few steps you should take to preserve the tooth until you get to our office. Rinse the crown portion of the tooth and only handle the tooth by the crown half. Next, place the tooth into a sealed container of milk. This will keep the tooth hydrated and the calcium in the milk will help to keep the calcium in the tooth strong. It is important that you contact the office right away to facilitate getting the tooth re-implanted.

(1) The tooth must not be out of the mouth for more than 2 hours.

(2) The condition of the tooth and periodontal tissues (gum) needs to be healthy

(3)  Minimal handling of the root surface and soaking in milk increase the likelihood of success.

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