What Should I Do When a Permanent Tooth is Knocked Out?

missing tooth, Blakeney Dental, Charlotte, North Carolina

It happens when you least expect it. You trip and fall and hit your mouth against something. Or you’re playing softball and a line drive smashes into your face. The impact knocks a tooth right out of your gums.

A knocked-out tooth, also known as an avulsed tooth, is a serious dental emergency that requires fast action. Taking the right steps and seeking immediate care can mean the difference between losing or saving the tooth.

Dr. Mark Ranzinger and our team at Blakeney Dental in Charlotte, North Carolina, would like you to know what to do if one of your permanent teeth is knocked out.

An oral emergency

More than 5 million teeth are knocked out in children and adults in the United States each year. If you don’t act fast, you could lose the tooth for good. Fortunately though, a quick response could save it. If one of your teeth gets knocked out, take the following steps:

Step 1: Find the tooth

Your knocked-out tooth may be in your mouth, on your lap, or on the ground. When you find it, pick it up, but try your best not to touch the tooth by the roots. Try to stay calm.

Step 2: Rinse the tooth

As soon as possible, hold the tooth by the crown (the chewing surface, which is the part of the tooth that is farthest away from the gum) and rinse it gently by dipping it briefly in a bowl of warm water.

Keep these important recommendations in mind: Do not hold the tooth under running water, which can damage the roots. Do not use soap or scrape away debris with a cloth or your finger. Do not dry the tooth with a cloth or wrap it in anything.

Your gums will probably be bleeding, so rinse your mouth with warm water.

Step 3: Attempt to reinsert the tooth

Gently holding the clean tooth by the crown, carefully try to insert it into your empty tooth socket. Bite down very softly on a gauze pad to hold the tooth in place. If you don’t have gauze, you can hold it in place with your fingers.

Step 4: Keep your tooth moist

If you can’t put the tooth back into the empty tooth socket, don’t force it. Hold it in your mouth next to your cheek to keep it moist with saliva. Try your best not to swallow it. If you can’t keep it in your mouth, place it in a glass of milk (but not water).

You may also insert it in an over-the-counter product that is specially designed to preserve a knocked-out tooth, if you have it. Moisture helps prevent the tooth’s roots from drying out.

Step 5: Get emergency dental care

Emergency dentists are specially trained to treat knocked-out teeth and other oral injuries that require immediate care. The sooner you can be seen by an emergency dentist, the better.

Dr. Ranzinger is committed to helping you and your family with dental emergencies such as knocked-out teeth. As soon as possible after the tooth is knocked out, call us right away, or have a family member or friend call to let our staff know you’re on your way.

Receiving care within about 30 minutes of your injury and following the steps outlined here could save your tooth. If you can’t get to Dr. Ranzinger or another emergency dentist right away, go to the hospital emergency room instead.

We care for all your dental needs

Blakeney Dental serves patients from all over Mecklenburg County and surrounding communities. For dental emergencies, call us immediately. For routine general or cosmetic dentistry care, call our office or use our convenient online scheduling tool to make an appointment.

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