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Knocked Out Your Tooth? Take These Steps ASAP

Feb 06, 2024
If your tooth gets knocked out, you don’t have time to figure out what to do. No time to Google. No time to text friends. You must act fast and get to the dentist ASAP. Read this now so you’re ready to take action when and if the time comes.

Five million teeth get knocked out each year in the United States, and it’s safe to say that none of those people saw it coming. And yet, the ball hits you in the face. Or you fall on the pavement. Or somebody punches you.

However it happens, when your tooth gets knocked out (or when your child’s tooth gets knocked out), it’s a shock. And a dental emergency

You don’t have time and probably wouldn’t even have the mental resources to start researching what to do and when. You have to know. And you have to do it. Quickly.

At our clinic in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Anthony Osei hopes that you and your family members never experience a knocked out tooth. But if it happens, he wants you to know what to do.

Read this brief now and keep the info handy. Just in case.

First: Save the tooth

The first thing to do when a tooth is knocked out is make sure you preserve the tooth properly. After your tooth gets knocked out, your dentist can put it back in as long as the roots haven’t been handled.

Hold the tooth by the crown — the part that shows above your gum. Never ever touch the roots of a knocked-out tooth. Touching the root could damage the nerves in the root, making it impossible to re-implant in your mouth.

If the tooth broke or shattered when it was knocked out, pick up as many pieces as you can find. Treat them as a whole tooth, according to the following instructions, if possible.

Second: Clean and preserve the tooth

If the tooth is dirty, briefly and gently rinse it in cool or tepid water. Don’t scrub the tooth. Don’t use soap. Only remove debris. If the tooth looks clean, don’t even bother to wash it.

The ideal place to preserve the tooth is in your mouth. Preferably in the empty socket. As gently and carefully as you can, place the tooth back in its socket. Hold it in place by gently biting down on a washcloth, gauze, or fabric.

If you can’t fit it into your socket, or if it’s broken, hold it in the space between your gums and your cheek. If your child has lost their tooth and you’re afraid they’ll swallow it, or if you can’t for some reason hold the tooth in your mouth, place it in a jar or glass of milk or saliva.

Do not place the tooth in water. Water can damage the root. Only use milk or saliva to preserve the tooth.

Third: Head to the dentist

Have somebody call us and drive you to our office ASAP. Put our number in your phone now so it’s ready when you need it:


We immediately create a place for you in our schedule to ensure that we have time to re-implant your knocked-out tooth. If your tooth is knocked out after hours, call 911 or head to the emergency room or urgent care center.

Ideally, no more than 30 minutes should pass between the time your tooth gets knocked out and your arrival at our office. However, don’t despair if you hit a snag: We may be able to save the tooth for another 30 minutes.

Fourth: Wait for the tooth to “take”

If we can save your tooth, we clean and disinfect it and place it back in your socket. We then splint the knocked-out tooth to adjacent teeth to stabilize it.

You can expect the tooth to take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to integrate with your gums and re-root itself. Once the tooth is healed, we must then perform a root canal to remove dead or infectious material within the damaged tooth and stabilize it with a crown.

Do you have a dental emergency, such as a knocked-out tooth? Call us now at 210-682-2700 and head for our office. To schedule a preventive care appointment, contact us by phone or through our online form today.