Did you know athletes are 60 times more likely to have a tooth knocked out if they aren’t wearing a mouthguard? Although wearing mouthguards can help reduce the risk of injuring your teeth, athletic events aren’t the only cause of knocked-out teeth. Falls, bicycle accidents, and accidental collisions also contribute to tooth loss. An estimated 69% of children have experienced a knocked-out tooth at some point.
Here at SPA Dental Group, our experienced team of providers knows that dental emergencies especially knocked out teeth are common and unpredictable. We offer emergency dental care in our New York City and Washington, D.C. locations.
Even before you come in for an urgent appointment, you can take specific actions to increase the chance that we can save your tooth. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to knocked-out teeth.
First aid steps for a knocked-out tooth
An avulsed tooth — the official name for a knocked-out tooth — can be traumatic. Remember to take a deep breath and stay calm. If you’re helping a child, instruct him or her to take a deep breath. A knocked-out tooth can be saved, and it’s important to follow these steps carefully to give your tooth the best chance of reattaching.
1. Clean up your mouth and assess for other injuries
It’s not uncommon to see a little blood when your tooth is knocked out. Carefully, wipe your lips, and rinse your mouth out with water.
Note: If you have other injuries (like a concussion) or bleeding that isn’t controlled, you may need to skip emergency dental care and head to the nearest emergency room.
2. Carefully handle the tooth
To avoid contaminating the tooth roots, pick up the tooth only by the crown or the chewing portion of your tooth. Don’t touch the roots or try to scrub them.
3. Rinse the tooth
You may need to rinse the tooth with water, especially if the tooth fell on the ground. While rinsing, be sure to avoid touching the roots.
4. Keep the tooth moist
Once you’ve rinsed your tooth, don’t wrap it in a tissue or paper towel. It needs to stay moist. You can store your tooth:
- In the socket, if you can
- On the inside pocket of your cheek (your saliva will keep it moist)
- In milk
- In a tooth preservation kit
Although you rinse your tooth with plain water, it’s not ideal to store your tooth in water. Don’t store it in mouthwash or saline water either. According to the American Association of Endodontists, your tooth’s roots can’t tolerate water for too long and this can impact your tooth’s ability to reattach successfully.
5. Seek dental care
For the best chance of saving your tooth, you should receive professional dental care within 30 minutes. During your appointment, your tooth will be cleaned and reinserted into the socket. Your avulsed tooth may be secured with splinting to support your tooth while it heals.
6. Schedule a follow-up appointment
According to the experts at Cleveland Clinic, your splint will stay in place anywhere from two to eight weeks. During your follow-up appointment, your splint will be removed and your tooth is examined.
Despite taking all of the appropriate first aid steps for a knocked-out tooth, it’s possible that your tooth just can’t reattach properly. If that’s the case, you’ll still have plenty of options for replacing your tooth. From implants to bridges, we offer several options to restore your smile.
We know that life happens and sometimes accidents occur. To best prepare for an emergency visit, we suggest storing the phone number of the location of your choice on your phone. If a dental emergency arises, give us a call and we can guide you with your next steps. You may also visit our website to request an appointment at our Washington D.C. or New York City, New York locations.