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First Steps After You've Knocked Out a Tooth

Knocked-out teeth 一 officially called avulsed teeth 一 are common dental emergencies. It takes a lot of force to knock out a tooth, but this kind of impact is possible in sports injuries, traffic accidents, and falls. Although mouth guards can help reduce sports-related avulsions, they often occur in biking, football, martial arts, and rugby accidents. 

Dr. Constantina Bacopoulou and her team at Carnegie Dental Wellness know that knocked-out teeth are a common dental emergency 一 and one that needs immediate dental care.

Because swift action can spell the difference between saving your tooth or losing your tooth, Dr. Bacopoulou has detailed the steps you need to take after you’ve knocked out a tooth.

1.  Take a deep breath

Any injury 一 including a knocked-out tooth 一 can get your adrenaline pumping. This is a natural reaction to emergencies. First and foremost, take a deep breath. Deep breathing helps to keep your body out of flight or fight mode so you’re more relaxed.

If you’re assisting someone who’s had their tooth knocked out, reassure them. Instruct them to take a deep breath as well as you guide them through the first aid steps for avulsed teeth.

2. Check for serious injuries

After an injury, whether it’s in one of New York City’s many parks or recreational centers or just at home, check for serious facial or head injuries. Concussions or severe facial/head lacerations may require a trip to the emergency room.

3. Rinse your mouth 

Once you’ve determined that you don’t have any serious head or face injuries, you need to rinse your mouth out. It’s normal for your mouth to bleed, especially if your lip was cut during the accident or collision. Gently, rinse away the blood with water. Use a tissue or towel to blot away any blood from your lips. 

4. Pick up and rinse your tooth

If your tooth fell out of your mouth, carefully retrieve it from the ground. Be careful to pick up your tooth by the crown (the top portion) and never by the roots. Rinse off any blood or dirt with water, but don’t scrub it.

5. Keep your tooth moist

Keeping your tooth moist increases your chance of successful reattachment. The American Association of Endodontists warns against soaking your tooth in water because prolonged soaking in water can make it harder for the tooth roots to reattach. There are many ways you can keep your tooth moist while you travel to our office. You can:

  • Place the tooth in a glass of milk
  • Replace your tooth back into the socket (if possible)
  • Store your tooth along the inside of your cheek

If you have a first aid kit with a tooth preservation kit, you can follow the instructions on the kit.

Tip: If you don’t already have a first aid kit in your home, car, or sports bag, now is a good time to stock your bag with one. In addition to standard supplies, add a  tooth preservation kit so you’ll be prepared in the event of a dental emergency.

6. Seek dental care within 30 minutes

The sooner you receive dental care, the better the prospects are for saving your tooth. Ideally, seek dental intervention within 30 minutes. During your emergency dental appointment, Dr. Bacopoulou examines your tooth, and if your chances are good for reattachment, she replaces your tooth in the socket and secures it with splinting

If your tooth can’t be saved, Dr. Bacopoulou discusses your options for replacing your tooth. Implants and bridges are two potential options for replacing missing teeth.

7. Schedule a follow-up visit 

Splints remain in place for anywhere between two and eight weeks. Dr. Bacopoulou reexamines your tooth at your follow-up to ensure it’s healing properly.

For dental emergencies, call us at 646-453-4770. For less urgent matters, feel free to use our online scheduling system to schedule an appointment at our Midtown West Manhattan office.