How To Handle Knocked Out Teeth

Jun 4, 2015 — by Cristin Dowd, DDS


Hi Everyone.  This is Dr. Cristin Dowd with Signature Smiles.  I just attended the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists annual meeting in Seattle a week ago and want to share with you some pearls on how to handle knocked out teeth.  
As a mother of two active children, I'm well aware that accidents and not-so-accidents can happen on the sports field, playing with dogs, and anything involving kids.   So if you ever find yourself as the first responder to a "knocked out tooth", stay cucumber cool like the mom and dad that you are, and follow these guidelines.  
If the tooth is a baby tooth, it CANNOT be replanted and now belongs to the toothfairy.  Baby teeth are generally smaller than adult teeth.  If you aren't sure if it's a baby tooth, take a picture with your phone and send it to your dentist so they can help you identify it.  Make an appointment with your dentist to evaluate the trauma site.
For Adult (permanent) teeth:  
Time is extremely important; minimize the amount of time the tooth is out of the socket.
Research shows that a tooth left out of its socket for more than 30 minutes has a poor chance of properly healing.
The longer it's out; the worse it is.
  1. Pick up the tooth by the crown end.  If there is debris on the root of the Tooth, gently rinse off the debris with milk (if available) or saliva.  Water may be used but is not ideal because it could damage the cells on the tooth root.   If water is the only solution available, rinse off the debris quickly and limit the exposure time to water.  
  2. NO NOs: Do NOT scrape the root nor use alcohol, vinegar, peroxide.
  3. Try to place the tooth back in the socket and bite down gently to keep it in place.
  4. If unable to reseat, place tooth in container of milk or cloth soaked with milk.  If milk is unavailable, substitute saliva.
  5. You could also "store" tooth in your mouth underneath your tongue.  Avoid swallowing the tooth
  6. Call and go see your dentist right away!

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