A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Tooth knocked out? Act quickly

Knocked out tooth 5-5 inside

Kids can prevent permanent teeth from being knocked out by wearing a mouth guard while playing sports.

If you’re ever in the painful predicament of having a tooth knocked out, remember time is money and perhaps, molars.

First, call the dentist immediately. Dr. Aaron Mertz, a Marshfield Clinic dentist, described what to do next.

“If it’s a permanent tooth, not a baby tooth, pick it up by the crown, the white portion of the tooth,” Mertz said. “Then run the root, the darker portion of the tooth, under cold water for about 15 seconds, and put it into a cup of milk.”

Once the tooth and socket are clear of debris, you can attempt to place the tooth back in its socket and bite down on a paper towel to keep it in place. The dentist will then do X-rays to make sure there isn’t a jaw fracture. Your care team may place a splint in the area to keep the tooth stable and prescribe antibiotics.

If you’re not comfortable placing the tooth back in its socket, simply store it in the cup of milk. You also can place the tooth between your cheek and gums and hold it in place until you reach the dentist.

Visit your dentist as soon as possible

“You don’t want the tooth to dry out,” Mertz said. “If the tooth gets into the dentist within 15-20 minutes, it will likely be saved.”

If you wait to bring in the tooth, it’s still possible to save it, but odds are less than if you bring it in immediately. Your dentist may recommend the tooth, once back in place, be cleaned via root canal about one week later. If the tooth cannot be saved, depending on the patient’s age, a crown with an implant is an option.

Mertz said playing sports without a mouth guard is one of the most common reasons teeth get knocked out.

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