Practice Logo

Why Emergency Dentistry is Essential for a Knocked-Out Tooth

Aug 07, 2023
Why Emergency Dentistry is Essential for a Knocked-Out Tooth
Every year, accidents and injuries cause more than five million knocked-out teeth. Luckily, with prompt emergency dental care, a knocked-out tooth doesn't have to be a lost tooth — it can be reimplanted and saved. Learn more here.

Whether in a trip-and-fall accident, during a sports field collision, or through some other mishap, a knocked-out tooth is a dental emergency that warrants immediate expert care with our team at Hazel Dell Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana. 

Why? An adult tooth that's been knocked out of its socket isn't necessarily a lost cause — in fact, it can usually be saved with rapid intervention and care.

As family dentists specializing in emergency dentistryDr. Suzette Nikas and Dr. Chelsea Laucher offer prompt office visits for knocked-out teeth and other urgent oral health problems. Here's why swift treatment for a knocked-out tooth is so necessary.

Your knocked-out tooth is an emergency

Accidents and injuries cause more than five million knocked-out teeth annually in the United States. Although this common dental emergency happens instantly, it requires immediate and careful attention. 

What makes a knocked-out tooth such a pressing problem? Immediate care can mean saving your natural tooth or filling the space with an artificial replacement, like a dental implant or bridge

Here's why: The sooner your tooth is reimplanted into its socket and splinted into place by a dentist, the more likely it is to reattach itself and heal. It's as simple as that.

Immediate care for a knocked-out tooth

Although it’s always best to see our team at Hazel Dell Dentistry within 30-60 minutes of your traumatic, tooth-dislodging injury, it’s still possible to save a tooth that’s been out of its socket for longer than an hour — especially if it’s been cared for properly in the meantime.

With that in mind, here are four critical steps to take with your knocked-out tooth before you reach our office: 

1. Secure your tooth

When a tooth is forced from its socket, it may remain in your mouth or end up somewhere on the floor or ground. Whether you have to look for or spit it out, it's essential to take care when securing your knocked-out tooth: Handle your tooth carefully, grasping it by the crown (white part), never by its root.

When a tooth is ripped from its socket, its connective ligament tissues get torn away. Handling these delicate tissues can damage them beyond repair, reducing the likelihood of successful reattachment.

2. Rinse away any dirt 

If your tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with water. For the same reason, you shouldn't handle a knocked-out tooth by its root, don't use soap or chemicals to cleanse it, and never scrub it clean. There's no need to rinse a bloody tooth that hasn't gotten dirty on the ground.

3. Reposition your tooth in its socket 

As quickly as possible, gently reposition your tooth in its socket. Lightly set it in place, handling it by its crown. Hold it in place with your fingers, or gently bite down.

Reinstalling your tooth in its socket serves two purposes: It keeps the delicate, traumatized root safe and moist — both vital to future reattachment. If you can get your tooth back in its socket, your next step is to call our team for a prompt emergency appointment and see us within an hour, if possible.

4. Or, keep your tooth damp 

Never force your tooth back into its socket; if you can't reposition it easily, don't. Instead, find another way to keep it moist; don't place it in a tissue or cloth. Doing so can dry out and damage its delicate connective tissues, reducing the odds of reattachment.

The easiest way to keep your tooth wet is to submerge it in a small container of milk, saline solution, or saliva or hold it inside your cheek. Never place a knocked-out tooth in tap water; the minerals and chemicals in unfiltered water easily damage its root cells.

Expert emergency dental care right away

Once you're in our office, we restore your tooth to its socket (or check your restoration by having a look). If restoring your tooth to its socket from a container of milk or saliva, we first numb the area to ensure optimal comfort. 

Then, we take a dental X-ray to ensure your tooth is in its correct position before splinting it. Dental splinting is a technique that uses small supports to attach your knocked-out tooth to adjacent teeth. We leave splitting in place for two weeks to give your tooth root ample time to heal and reimplant itself in your gums.

If you need emergency dental care, our experts at Hazel Dell Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana, are here. Call us today, or click online to schedule a visit any time.