Take These Steps Immediately If You've Knocked Out a Tooth

About 5 million teeth are knocked out each year in the United States, but if it happens to you, it can certainly make you feel like you’re all alone. It’s true, losing a tooth can be an emotional experience — but the good news is, knocked-out teeth can often be replanted — as long as you take a few specific steps.

At A to Z Dental Studio, Hiba Zakhour, DDS, provides emergency dental care for patients in Fairfax, Virginia, who’ve lost teeth due to accidents or other emergency issues. Here’s what to do if you lose a tooth to increase your chances of having the tooth successfully replanted.

Time is of the essence

That’s a fancy way of saying you have about a half hour to get to the office (or your nearest emergency department) to have the tooth replanted. Once your tooth is knocked loose, it’s no longer receiving the supply of blood and nutrients it needs to stay “alive.” (Some teeth have been successfully replanted even an hour after being knocked out, but it’s much better to aim for 30 minutes if you can.)

Don’t touch the root

The root is very fragile, and touching it can damage or contaminate it, meaning replanting may not be successful. Pick it up by the top part (the crown) and avoid handling or touching the root at all.

Gently clean the tooth

If the tooth is dirty (and you have time), gently rinse it with clean water. Don’t scrub it or dry it, and do not use soap or other cleansers.

Put it back in the socket

If possible, gently replace the tooth inside the socket. Hold it in place by biting very gently on a piece of clean gauze or fabric.

Keep it moist

Can’t put the tooth back in the socket? The next best thing is to put it gently in a container of milk. Don’t use tap water, since the chemicals it contains can damage the sensitive root. If you don’t have milk available, place the tooth in your mouth between your cheek and your gum.

Invest in an emergency dental kit

Many kits contain “tooth preservation” materials you can use in case a tooth is knocked out. It may seem like overpreparation, but if you do lose a tooth, you’ll be glad you have it.

Protect your teeth

It’s not always possible to avoid having a tooth knocked out, but you can reduce your risks by wearing a mouthguard during impact sports and by having regular dental appointments to treat decay and other problems that can weaken teeth.

To learn more about the preventive, restorative, and emergency dental care Dr. Zakhour offers, or to schedule a routine exam, call the office or book an appointment online.

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