When a Permanent Tooth is Knocked Out, Quick Action Makes All the Difference

According to the American Association of Endodontists, each year more than 5 million women, men, and kids in the United States get a tooth knocked out during sports, assaults, and accidents. When a permanent tooth is knocked out (aka, avulsed), you have about 30 minutes to get to the nearest dental emergency center to save it.

Moise Nawlo, DDS, Loay Shadid, DDS, and our efficient team at Dental Spa of Broad Street in Clifton, New Jersey, are ready for dental emergency walk-ins during office hours. If your tooth was knocked out, we will see you immediately. Call ahead, if it’s safe, so we’re ready to help as soon as you walk in.

What you should do when a tooth gets knocked out

Though nobody ever expects a dental emergency, being aware of what you should do helps you take appropriate action quickly when you’re in the middle of a traumatic event. Here are the steps you should follow if a permanent tooth gets knocked out. If possible, have someone near you call our office while you:

1. Find the tooth and carefully pick it up by the crown 

As soon as your tooth gets knocked out, look for it carefully. Only pick up the tooth by its crown (the part of the tooth that shows above your gums). Don’t touch the sensitive roots; they’re coated with a tissue called the periodontal ligament that’s essential to successful re-implantation.

2. Gently rinse off any dirt

If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently under cool water only for no more than 10 seconds. Do NOT scrub the tooth, use toothpaste or soap to clean it, or dry it. Your tooth is delicate and easily damaged.

3. Place the tooth back in its socket

If possible, rinse your mouth of dirt and blood with warm water and insert the tooth back into its socket. Place it directly with your fingers and press down gently on the chewing surface. You can also bite down gently to press it into place.

4. Bite down on a damp piece of gauze

The gauze helps keep your tooth in place and controls the bleeding until you arrive at the Dental Spa of Broad Street office. The coolness and pressure of the gauze also help numb pain. Don’t use any topical pain treatments, though, as they could damage the tooth.

5. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, keep it wet

If you don’t have a Save-a-Tooth® kit available, keep your tooth protected and wet by placing it inside your mouth, between your gums and cheek. If that’s not possible (a child, for instance, might swallow the tooth), then either put the tooth in a jar of milk or in your own or your child’s (if it’s their tooth) saliva. If you don’t have a jar, coat the tooth with saliva and then wrap it in plastic.

6. Save the fragments

If your tooth broke when it got knocked out, pick up any fragments you find. Place them in a jar filled with milk or wrap them in saliva and plastic.

7. Drive or walk carefully to The Dental Spa of Broad Street

You don’t need an appointment if you have a dental emergency. If you weren’t able to call ahead, just let our friendly receptionist know you have a knocked-out tooth as soon as you arrive. 

What the dentist does when your tooth is knocked out

If you get to the office within an hour after your accident, Dr. Nawlo or Dr. Shahid may be able to re-insert your tooth so that it can re-attach and stabilize. After cleaning your mouth and the tooth, we then place it back in its socket and create a splint that attaches to the teeth on either side of your knocked-out tooth. You return in a couple of weeks after your tooth has stabilized, so your dentist can remove the splints.

After your tooth has stabilized, you may need a root canal treatment. If you get a root canal, your cleaned and reinforced tooth is capped with a protective ceramic or composite crown.

Replacing an unsalvageable tooth

If your tooth or its roots were damaged or you weren’t able to get to the emergency dentist in time, you may need a tooth replacement. A dental implant not only looks and feels most natural, but it also maintains the integrity of your dental bone, protecting it from atrophy. Our dentists are experts at custom-designing and inserting permanent dental implants.

Whenever you need emergency dentistry, don’t hesitate to get help. Come straight to the Dental Spa of Broad Street during office hours or head to the emergency room after hours. Whenever possible, call ahead so we’re ready when you arrive and have our contact info saved to your smartphone.

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