Thursday, April 9, 2020

What to Do When You Knock out a Tooth

what to do when you knock out a tooth

You're riding your bike, enjoying the great outdoors with the wind in your face and the sun on your back. Then suddenly, your front tire hits a pothole, the handlebars jolt, and your saddle bucks right into the pavement face-first.

And you taste blood. Reaching up you realize that you've knocked a tooth out. What do you do? Aside from a few scrapes, the rest of you seems ok. But your tooth? Uh-uh.

man with tooth pain

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

When you've knocked out a permanent tooth, time is of the essence.

This is one of the few true dental emergencies—the tooth's chance of survival diminishes with every minute it's outside your mouth. Spring into action right away.
  1. Find the tooth. Your tooth is an amazing tool, and the best outcome for everyone is its survival instead of an implant or partial dentures. If it's broken, gather up the pieces as best you can.
  2. Rinse the tooth in room temperature water. Hold the tooth by the crown (the part that was visible before it was knocked out), not the root.
  3. Return the tooth to its socket if possible. Hold it there, and get to your dentist's office.
  4. If that is not possible, either because there are several pieces or because the socket has changed shape, place the tooth and its pieces in a cup of milk, and bring it to your dentist immediately.
It is ideal to get to your dentist before an hour has passed. The sooner the better.

child with missing teeth

Knocked out Baby Tooth

It is very common for a child to lose a tooth while playing on the playground, riding a bike, or running around the house.

This is not very serious.

In fact, often trying to replant a baby tooth in its socket will damage the developing permanent tooth above it. If your child gets one of their baby teeth knocked out, give them a hug if they are hurt, and use painkillers and ice if the pain persists. But ultimately, that's all that is needed.

After all, your child has a built-in replacement on its way.

boy holding football and mouthguard


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Instead of building the ambulance at the bottom of the valley, build a guard rail that winds through the valley.

Protect those permanent teeth with your pre-teen and teenagers by encouraging them to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. One of the most common ways for a child to knock out a permanent tooth is by playing sports, particularly contact sports.

Professional athletes wear mouth guards for a reason. Take a leaf out of their playbook and do the same.

In summary, if it was a permanent tooth, rush over to your dentist immediately. Most dentists, like Doctor Swan at Swan Smiles and Orthodontics, have seen all kinds of tooth injuries and will take care of you in a calm, careful manner. If your child loses a baby tooth, don't worry too much. Put the tooth under a pillow and wait for the permanent tooth to grow back. Lastly, wear protective gear when possible.

Stay safe out there!