Steps to Take When a Tooth is Knocked-Out

A serious dental emergency is a knocked-out, or in medical terms, an avulsed tooth.  A dental accident such as this is commonly caused by accidental falls, fighting, car accidents, sports-related trauma and biting on hard food. 

When a tooth has been knocked out, the blood vessels and nerves  of the tooth are damaged and cannot be repaired so the tooth will eventually require a root canal.  If you act quickly, there is a good chance your avulsed tooth can be saved by following these steps:

  • Do not touch the root of the tooth as it can be damaged easily
  • If possible, place the tooth back into place in your mouth and bite down gently on a piece of gauze to keep the tooth in place
  • If you cannot place the tooth back into your mouth, then place it in a container and cover with whole milk or saliva.  It is very important to keep the tooth moist
  • See your dentist as soon as possible.  The two most important factors in saving the tooth is the speed of re-implantation and the use of a proper storage medium.

The first step your dentist will take when you arrive at his office is to flush debris from the tooth socket with water and then set the tooth back into place. The tooth will then be held in its proper place by splinting it to its neighboring teeth by soft wire or/and with a composite material.  Your dentist will decide how long the splint should remain on your tooth.  A root canal may be performed at this time or your dentist may wait until a later time to perform the procedure.

An avulsed tooth usually reattaches to the bone within three to four weeks.  However, if the bone around the tooth was fractured, the time for the tooth to reattach may take up to eight weeks. 

Three to six months after your tooth has been re-implanted, you will need to be examined by your dentist to ascertain the health of your tooth.  If no signs of infection are found, your dentist will evaluate the health of your re-implanted tooth at your six-month check-ups for the next two to three years.