How to handle knocked-out teeth

More than five million teeth are knocked out every year in children and adults due to injuries or accidents, when this happens it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s lost for good. Proper emergency action matters for a successful replant.

1. Pick up the tooth by the crown 

  • Locate the tooth immediately
  • Handle the tooth carefully when you pick it up, and never touch the root of the tooth, only the crown (chewing surface).

2. If dirty, gently rinse the tooth with water

  • Use only water to gently rinse off any dirt.

3. Reposition the tooth in the socket immediately, if possible.

  • Try to put the tooth back into its socket right away. Gently push it in with your fingers, by handling the crown, or position it above the socket and close your mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or by gently biting down on it.

4. Keep the tooth moist at all times.

  • The tooth must stay moist at all times, either in your mouth or, if it can’t be replaced in the socket, put it in milk, in your mouth next to your cheek, or in an emergency tooth preservation kit (such as Save-a-Tooth®).

5. See an endodontist or dentist within 30 minutes of the injury. 

  • Bring the tooth with you to your emergency appointment ideally. It’s best to see the doctor within 30 minutes; however, it is possible to save a tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.

6. Don’t do these

  • Don’t leave your tooth at the site of the accident
  • Don’t touch the root of the tooth
  • Don’t use soap or chemicals to wash the dirt on the tooth
  • Don’t scrub or dry the tooth
  • Don’t wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth
  • Don’t soak the tooth in regular tap water, the root surface cells can’t tolerate that for extended periods of time

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