What To Do When a Tooth is Knocked Out

When someone’s tooth is knocked out, it is without question a dental emergency: one of the most serious there is, especially if it’s an adult tooth. It can be scary when it happens, but the good news is that if you head straight to OnCall Dental in Fresno, there is a very good chance the tooth can be saved.

In the case of a knocked out tooth, timing is everything. When we say “head straight to OnCall Dental,” that means get here as soon as possible. If you get here within thirty minutes of the tooth being knocked out, the chances are very good the tooth can be saved.

Even if it takes you longer to get here, though, don’t give up. It is possible to save the tooth even if it’s been more than an hour.

What To Do

Technically, a knocked out tooth is called an avulsed tooth. Most likely it will happen without warning: a fall from a bike, an elbow to the mouth on the basketball court: that’s all it takes.

Here is what you should do:

  1. Find the tooth and pick it up. It may be nestled within your clothing. It is important to pick it up by the crown only – the biting and chewing part – and never by the root.
  2. If there is dirt on it, rinse it gently with water. Do not use soap, toothpaste, or any other cleanser.
  3. If you can, reposition the tooth in the socket it came from. Use your fingers to press it gently in place. Hold it there with fingers, or by gently biting down.
  4. Keep the tooth moist. If you cannot get it into your mouth, place it in milk if you’ve got some handy. Don’t waste time looking for some, though. If you can’t get it into the socket and  there’s no milk available, you can put it in your mouth between the gums and your cheek.
  5. Head straight to our office.

Once you’re here and in our chair, leave it to us. We can re-insert it, and there is an excellent chance the tooth can be saved if you’ve gotten here quickly. We may need to hold it in place with a composite material; this may be necessary for a few days.

Getting a tooth knocked out happens more than five million times every year. It is a clear emergency, but we’ve had a lot of practice. You can call ahead on your way in, but you don’t need an appointment and walk-ins are always welcome. At OnCall Dental in Fresno emergency dental care is our specialty.