What to do if a tooth gets knocked out

If you’re the kind of person that dreads a trip to the dentist, then the thought of having a tooth knocked out likely chills you to the bone. However, you might be surprised at just how often it happens. But do you know what to do with the tooth when it’s been knocked out of a mouth?

If you’re the kind of person that dreads a trip to the dentist, then the thought of having a tooth knocked out likely chills you to the bone. However, you might be surprised at just how often it happens. But do you know what to do with the tooth when it’s been knocked out of a mouth?

In fact, Melbourne-based dentist and founder of Casey Smiles, Dr Mohamed Massaud, is worried about the surprising number of preventable teeth injuries that occur in sport and recreational activities, and they tend to spike at this time of the year.

Dr Mohamed,  says the majority of sporting teeth injuries are suffered by children and teenagers, mostly in school sport competitions. As a result, he has some more important advice to parents on what to do if your child sustains an injury to their teeth while playing sport.

According to Dr Mohamed, the worst thing you can do is wrap the tooth up in a tissue and eventually get to a dentist. If you want to get the tooth secured back in your mouth, you need to act fast.

1. Pick up the tooth by the crown

“Find the tooth straight away and take it with you to the dentist.    Pick up the tooth by the crown, which is the white end of the tooth (the chewing surface). Don’t touch the root of the tooth as this can cause damage.” 

 2. Clean the tooth

“Gently rinse the tooth with water to clean off any dirt.   If you have milk on hand, use milk instead of water.  Don’t use soap or detergent as this can damage the root.  Avoid scrubbing, rubbing or drying the tooth, it needs to stay moist.”

3. Put the tooth back in the socket immediately

“If possible, put the tooth back into position in your mouth.  Gently push it into its socket with your fingers only touching the white end of the tooth. Hold it in place with your fingers, or gently bite down on it to hold it in place.If the person is a child, elderly or unwell, it is best to avoid returning the tooth to the mouth just in case it is accidentally swallowed.”

4. Keep the tooth moist

“It is important to keep the tooth moist at all times. Don’t wrap it in cloth or any other material. If you were not able to put it back into its socket, the next best thing is to put the tooth in milk. Only use milk and not water as root surface cells can not tolerate being immersed in water for extended periods of time. Some say it is also good to hold the tooth inside your mouth to keep it moist against the cheek wall while traveling to the dentist however this can lead to the tooth being accidentally swallowed. For this reason, this approach is high risk and not encouraged.”

5. See a dentist immediately – within one hour of the injury happening

“Contact your dentist and let them know it is an emergency.  Explain that your tooth has been knocked out and you have it on hand. Ideally, you need to see the dentist within one hour of the accident happening.  If the tooth hasn’t been knocked out, but has moved, still go the dentist immediately without delay.”

“Even if your child feels the slightest bump or irregularity, it’s always worth at least going in for a check-up.   Sometimes, the most minor symptoms can be reflective of a bigger problem,” Dr Mo added.

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