When Your Tooth Is Knocked Out, Your Next Steps Matter

Knocked-out teeth are common dental emergencies — in the United States, more than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year. However, despite being a prevalent injury, it's easy to panic with such a traumatic injury. What you do right after a tooth is knocked out can make a tremendous difference in whether your dentist can save your tooth. 

You need immediate attention after a tooth is knocked out. Even waiting until the morning or next day can result in permanent tooth loss. Your teeth are living tissue, kept alive by the nerves and blood vessels in their roots. Although they can survive outside your jaw for a short amount of time, the more quickly you get treatment, the better your chances. 

Our team of expert dentists at Just For Your Smile offer emergency dental treatment for knocked-out teeth at offices in Tysons Corner and Vienna, Virginia, and Potomac Village and Potomac, Maryland. We want you to know what to do if you knock out one of your teeth. Taking the proper steps immediately increases your chances of reattachment and can help you avoid needing a dental implant, crown, or bridge. 

You need to do three things to save your tooth:

First: Find your tooth

The first thing you must do is locate your tooth. When you find it, carefully pick it up, only touching the crown — the part that's visible when the tooth is in your mouth. Don't touch the tooth root. It can damage the tooth and decrease your chances of successful re-implantation. 

Second: Clean your tooth

After you find your tooth, quickly rinse it under warm water to remove any dirt or debris. Do not use soap or any other synthetic cleaning products. And do not dry your tooth. It is imperative to keep your tooth moist until you see your dentist. 

Third: Keep your tooth moist

The best way to keep your tooth moist and protected is to gently place it back into its socket. If it doesn’t easily fit, don't force your tooth back into its socket. You can hold it in place by gently closing your teeth or using your (clean) finger. If you can't fit your tooth back into its socket, you can also tuck it between your gum and cheek. 

Another option, if you can't keep it in your mouth, is to place your tooth into a small sealed container of milk or Save-A-Tooth solution. Do not store your tooth in tap water as the chemicals can damage your tooth. 

The best defense is prevention

You've heard the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is especially true of your teeth. By taking some simple precautions, you can reduce the risk of chipping, fracturing, or otherwise injuring your teeth. Our dentists suggest:

If you have knocked out a tooth or have another dental emergency, call the Just for Your Smile office that's most convenient to you, or book a same-day appointment online

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