What to do When a Tooth Has Been Knocked Out

Having a tooth knocked out is scary, but the tooth can often be successfully re-implanted. It’s important to stay calm and act quickly, following these steps.

  1. Pick the tooth up by its chewing surface, doing your best to never touch its root.
  2. Rinse the tooth with either water or milk (no soap). Don’t scrub it or wrap it.
  3. For permanent teeth, try to gently put the tooth back in its socket. For baby teeth, do not put it back in the socket, because improper placement may cause problems later on.
  4. If you can’t put it back in place, keep it moist until you get medical attention. You can put it in milk or hold it in your mouth by your cheek. (For young children who may swallow the tooth, have them spit into a cup and put the tooth in that saliva.) Don’t keep it in tap water, because soaking in water for too long will damage the root.
  5. Go to a dentist, endodontist, or other emergency professional as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes. If that’s not possible, it’s still worth going to a professional because the tooth can often be saved even after an hour or more. Go to a professional even if you were able to put the tooth back in its socket.