More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year in children and adults. With proper emergency action, a tooth that has been knocked out of its socket can be successfully replanted and last for years. It’s important to see a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible after the tooth is knocked out. Quick action will increase the likelihood of saving the tooth.
Saving a Knocked-Out Tooth
1. Pick up tooth by the crown (the chewing surface) not the root.
Locate the tooth immediately; do not leave it at the site of the accident. The tooth should be handled carefully — touch only the crown — to minimize injury to the root.
2. If dirty, gently rinse tooth with water.
• Do not use soap or chemicals.
• Do not scrub the tooth.
• Do not dry the tooth.
• Do not wrap it in a tissue or cloth.
3. Reposition tooth in socket immediately, if possible.
The sooner the tooth is replaced, the greater the likelihood it will survive. To reinsert, carefully push the tooth into the socket with fingers, or position above the socket and close mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place with fingers or by gently biting down on it.
4. Keep tooth moist at all times.
The tooth must not be left outside the mouth to dry. If it cannot be replaced in the socket, put it in one of the following:
• Emergency tooth preservation kit (such as Save-a-Tooth®)
• Mouth (next to cheek)
Regular tap water is not recommended for long-term storage because the root surface cells do not tolerate water for long periods of time.
5. See an endodontist or the nearest available dentist within 30 minutes.
Bring the tooth to a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible — ideally, within 30 minutes. However, it is possible to save the tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.