What to Do If Your Tooth Is Knocked Out

An avulsed tooth — more commonly called a knocked-out tooth — is a common dental emergency, and it’s one that affects adults and children alike. As many as five million Americans experience an avulsed tooth each year. 

Traffic accidents, slips and falls, and sports accidents are the three most common causes of avulsed teeth, according to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research and Review. If you lose a tooth, it’s important to know that there’s a chance to save your tooth — if you act fast. 

Because swift action is vital for saving a knocked-out tooth,  Dr. Eric Wilhelm, Dr. John Wilhelm, and our experienced staff at The Wilhelm Dental Group are happy to offer emergency dental care as well as walk-in and last-minute appointments so you can get care when you need it most. 

Before you arrive at your appointment, however, be sure to familiarize yourself with the first-aid steps for caring for an avulsed tooth. 

Act swiftly, but stay calm

Although having your tooth knocked out can be scary and overwhelming, it’s important to stay calm so you can follow these first aid steps. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that prompt dental care can potentially save your tooth. If you’re helping a family member, help them to stay as calm as possible, too. 

According to the American Association of Endodontists, receiving dental care within 30 minutes of your injury gives your knocked-out tooth the best chance for survival.

Handling the tooth the right way

If your mouth or gums are bleeding, use a clean towel or wipe to clean up the blood. If your tooth fell out of your mouth during the initial injury, pick it up right away. To handle the tooth properly, pick up the tooth by the crown (the chewing surface of the tooth) and avoid touching the roots.

Rinse the tooth

If you need to remove blood, dirt, or other debris from your tooth, do not wipe the tooth with a cloth because you could damage the roots. Simply rinse the tooth with milk (preferred) or regular water. 

Keep the tooth moist

Once the tooth is rinsed, it’s important to continue to keep the tooth moist to help protect the tooth roots. There are several options for keeping your tooth moist. You can:

Why should you use milk? Studies show that pasteurized whole milk is the best fluid for storing a knocked out tooth. That’s because it’s readily available, contains nutrients and growth factors, and the pH and fluid pressure of the milk is compatible with the cells in the roots of the tooth — which reduces the chance of damage to your tooth.

Follow your post-injury instructions

Even with proper emergency dental care, it’s important to stick to your post-injury instructions, including coming in for follow-up appointments. During your follow-up appointment, Dr. Wilhem checks to make sure your tooth is healing without any signs of infection. 

At The Wilhelm Dental Group, we’re happy to provide urgent care when dental emergencies arise. And if you need a regular check-up or other dental care, schedule an appointment at our office in La Plata, Maryland, by calling 301-453-8944 or use our online booking system.

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