What to do if a tooth gets knocked out

A knocked-out tooth is one of the most common emergencies faced by dental practices and A&E departments. If the patient gets treated in time, there’s a good chance that their tooth can be saved. But with the NHS currently fighting Coronavirus, precious time could be lost while you wait to see a dentist.

If you’re unlucky enough to have a tooth knocked out, buy yourself some time by following these instructions and maximise your chances of keeping that smile intact.

Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown

The tooth should only be handled by the enamel-covered part that’s usually exposed. The root itself is covered in sensitive fibres that can be easily damaged which would prevent proper healing.

If the tooth is dirty, lick it clean

Resist the temptation to scrub the tooth as you don’t want to damage it. Cleaning the tooth with your own saliva by licking it is your best bet but if you really can’t face it then give it a gentle rinse in either UHT/long-life milk or a saline solution. Avoid using tap water or alcohol-based mouthwash.

If possible, put the tooth back into its socket

Ideally, you will want to put the tooth back into place and gently bite down on a clean piece of gauze or other clean cloth.

If the tooth is broken or won’t go back in, use a rescue container

In some cases excessive pain or a fragmented tooth could make reinsertion impossible. In that case you will need to place the tooth in a container like the GAP Re-Implant Vial or a clean plastic bag and ask the tooth owner to spit some saliva in to keep it from drying out before you reach a dentist. If spitting is too painful, UHT/long-life milk could do the trick and if you don’t have access to a rescue container, you’ll need the owner to keep the tooth safe and moist in their mouth.

Seek professional help

At this point you’ve done all you can to ensure a successful outcome and will at least have extended the window for a full recovery. The only thing left is to make your way straight to the nearest available dentist or A&E department who can assess what needs to happen next.

Current social-distancing rules mean we’re unlikely to suffer dental injuries through things like sport, but trips and falls can happen anywhere and it’s important to be prepared. At a time when it’s harder than ever to get emergency help from a dentist, we should all be keeping first aid supplies in the home. Our Dr Denti First Aid Kit has everything you need to deal with minor oral injuries, lost fillings, loose crowns and even heavy staining, all in one handy tin with full instructions for use.

For more information on our first aid kit and its contents drop us an email at info@gapdental.com or call on 01474 560 618.