Respond Quickly and Calmly
The first 30 minutes are crucial for saving a knocked-out tooth. However, panic can slow you down, so try to remain calm after your tooth is knocked out. Take a moment to calm yourself, then quickly follow these steps:
Step 1: Pick up the Tooth by the Crown
Handle the tooth by the crown–the part of the tooth that is normally visible and that you use to chew. You can tell this part of the tooth because it’s smoother and whiter than the root. The root is yellow, and rough, and may have soft tissue attached to it. If you touch the root, it can reduce the odds of successful replantation.
Step 2: Rinse the Tooth Gently
Clean any debris or dirt from the tooth. Note that the tooth may have soft tissue attached–do not try to wash this off. Use only water, milk, or salt water. Don’t use any soap, cleaning solution, or chemicals.
Step 3: Inspect the Tooth
Check to see if the tooth is all in one piece. Note that the tooth may not look like the cartoon image you have in your mind. Front teeth–the ones most likely to be knocked out–have only one root. Molars–the square teeth in the back of the mouth–may have two or more roots. Most important is that the tooth should look unbroken and entirely covered by the outer layer of enamel (crown) and cementum (root).
If the tooth is broken, the odds of successful replantation are very low.
Step 4: Find the Rest of the Tooth
If the tooth is broken, locate the other pieces. You might have broken pieces loose in your mouth. Spit these out to avoid swallowing them. You might also have a full or partial root in the socket. Leave these alone–do not touch them or attempt to get them out.
Step 5: Preserve the Tooth
Protect the tooth to give yourself the best chance of successful re-implantation. It needs to stay moist and, ideally, warm. The best place to put the tooth is back in the socket–if you can easily get it in correctly. Gently slide the tooth into place–don’t try to force it in place.
If you can’t get the tooth back into the socket, the next best option is to place it in your mouth between your cheek and gums.
Otherwise, put the tooth in a hard-sided container with milk, saliva, or tooth preservation solution if you have it.
Step 6: Contact Dr. Firouzian
If you haven’t already done so, contact Dr. Firouzian for an emergency appointment.