If you’ve taken a hard fall, gotten hit in the face, or been in some kind of accident, you might be startled and upset when you find out you’ve knocked out a tooth. In these situations, staying calm and acting quickly can help you save your tooth and avoid extensive dental work. If you’ve knocked out a tooth, take these steps immediately and find an emergency dental clinic to help you fix the damage.
At Margaret Culotta-Norton, DDS, PC, in Washington, DC, Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton and Dr. Peter Grinc provide emergency dentistry services to help if you have an accident that knocks out a tooth.
What to do if you knock out your tooth
If you’ve just lost a tooth, you might be injured or disoriented. Stay calm, make sure you don’t need serious medical attention, and then follow these steps to try and save your tooth.
Find your missing tooth
First, you need to find your tooth. If it’s still in your mouth, keep it there until you find a liquid to put it in, or until you reach the dentist. If your tooth has fallen on the ground, pick it up by the crown. Do not touch the tooth root.
Quickly rinse your tooth
Dirt, dust, and foreign debris can cause infections if your tooth is not clean upon reinsertion. If your tooth has fallen on the ground, rinse it gently in a bowl of warm tap water. Do not hold it under the faucet, do not rinse it for longer than 10 seconds, and do not remove any organic tissue clinging to your tooth. You want to preserve your original cells as much as possible.
If possible, try to press it back in yourself
Only attempt this if you feel like it will work. Make sure your tooth is facing the right way, and try to gently place it back into the socket. Do not force the tooth back in: It will only cause more damage. If you manage to get the tooth anchored, bite down on something soft, and go to the dentist right away. Do not try this if you think you might pass out or vomit.
Put your tooth in liquid
If you cannot get the tooth back in, that’s OK. Just hold the tooth in your mouth, or place it in a glass of milk. Some pharmacies sell growth mediums like Save-A-Tooth™ that can keep the cells alive, but milk or saliva also work. If you’re scared you might swallow your tooth, you can spit in a small cup until your tooth is submerged inside.
Get to an emergency dentist as soon as possible
This is the most important step. An emergency dentist will be able to see you right away, and they have experience dealing with dental emergencies. While there’s no guarantee that it will take, the faster you move, the better your chances.
Finding an emergency dentist
A knocked-out tooth that has been returned to its socket and seen by a dentist within one hour has the highest chance of being saved. This is why it’s important to have an emergency dentist on your contact list.
Losing a tooth is stressful enough, but trying to find a dentist that will see you right away can be even worse. Your primary dentist might be too busy to make a same-day appointment, but emergency dentists always set aside time for sudden visits.
Have you knocked out a tooth? Don’t panic. Get in touch with Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton and her team by calling 202-833-1111, or visit the contact page for more information.