Saving a Knocked-Out Tooth

From chips and cracks to abscesses and agonizing pain, there are many kinds of dental emergencies. Perhaps the most excruciating and frightening of all is having a tooth knocked out. But there’s no need to worry. We’re here to prepare you before an emergency ever happens. 

Drs. Marcus Higgins and Linda White at Higgins Dental specialize in emergency dentistry. But before they can do the complex dental work necessary to restore your lost tooth, you need to do everything you can to save it. Here are the steps you should follow after severe tooth trauma. 

Act quickly

Your teeth are living tissues. Deep in the center of each tooth is a complex network of nerves, blood vessels, and tissue that can’t live outside of your mouth for very long. Once the trauma has occurred, you only have around 30 minutes to get to our office before it dies. 

Pick it up carefully

How you pick up your tooth is extremely important. Once you’ve located your tooth, gently pick up by the crown (chewing surface) and not the root. The root contains delicate nerves and connective tissue that can be easily and permanently damaged. 

Rinse if dirty

If your tooth has fallen on the ground and been covered in dirt, you can gently rinse it with cold water. Again, do this very carefully without using soap or chemicals. Don’t scrub the tooth or wrap it in tissue or cloth, as it could cause permanent damage. 

Put it back in your mouth

This might seem counterintuitive as your now vacant gum is likely bleeding and in pain, but carefully sliding the tooth back into your gum increases your chances of saving it. Do this while holding onto the crown and keep it there until you get to our office. 

Keep it moist

This is imperative. Letting your tooth dry out can spoil your tooth. The best way to do this is to put it back in its place in your gum. If that’s not possible, hold it in your mouth next to your cheek or put it in a glass of milk. 

Restoring your knocked-out tooth

Once you’ve done your part and are sitting in one of our chairs, it’s time for our emergency dentistry experts to take over. 

Replacing a knocked-out tooth can be tricky depending on how severe the trauma was and how long your tooth was outside of your mouth.

We begin by rinsing the empty socket of debris and blood before slipping your tooth back into place. Once we’ve found the proper positioning, we make a splint made either of soft wire or composite material to hold your tooth in place for several days. 

If your tooth wasn’t fractured during the trauma, your healing time may be shorter than if it had been chipped, cracked, or broken as well. Typically, your tooth should reattach itself to the bone in 3-4 weeks. More severely damaged teeth may need 6-8 weeks to completely find their home again. 

Plan to come back and see us for a check-up appointment in about 3-6 months. Unless an infection develops, you won’t need to follow up until your next annual appointment. We check in with your resurrected tooth for the next 2-3 yearly appointments to make sure the tooth has completely healed and reattached itself. 

Losing a tooth can be a traumatic experience, but our expert team can make it seem like it never happened. 

If you’re in need of emergency dental services, call 904-201-2847 or schedule an appointment online today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

The word “emergency” can mean different things to different people. You may think that your toothache can wait, but it may actually represent an emergency situation. Here’s what you need to know about dental emergencies.

Why Are My Teeth So Yellow?

When you look in the mirror, do you wonder why your teeth are yellow? We can help you change that through a special treatment paired with your healthy oral hygiene habits. If you’re ready to have a beautiful smile, keep reading.

Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have lost at least one adult tooth, it’s time to consider dental implants. Implants are natural-looking replacement teeth that provide a wide range of benefits. Let’s find out if you’re a good candidate.

Dental Care and COVID-19: What You Should Know

We're all doing our best to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but what does that look like when you need dental care? Find out what you need to know to keep yourself safe and healthy.

What Problems Does Invisalign Resolve?

Invisalign® is a virtually invisible alternative to braces. Learn why you don’t need uncomfortable and unsightly wires and brackets to straighten out your teeth.