Is a dentist able to save my tooth if it falls out?

Here is a guideline on how to treat a totally knocked out tooth.

Entire Tooth Knocked Out

Avoid additional trauma to tooth while handling. Do Not handle tooth by the root. Do Not brush or scrub tooth. Do Not sterilize tooth.

If debris is on tooth, gently rinse with water.

If possible, re-implant tooth and stabilize by biting down gently on the towel or handkerchief. Do only if athlete is alert and conscious.

If unable to re-implant:
  • Best -- Place tooth in a physiologic transport medium (e.g. Hank’s Balanced Saline Solution)
  • 2nd best -- Place tooth in milk.
  • 3rd best -- Wrap tooth in saline-soaked gauze.
  • 4th best -- Place tooth under athlete’s tongue. Do this ONLY if athlete is conscious and alert.
Time is very important. Re-implant within 30 minutes has the highest degree of success rate. Transport Immediately to Dentist.
Todd A. Welch, DMD
The dentist will be able to help you determine if the tooth is in good enough condition to return to full function. If the tooth looks good, then the dentist will take some x-rays to determine if optimum healing will be able to occur. The dentist will then be able to splint (attach) the tooth to the teeth next to it so it can be immobilized and have proper support for healing to take place.If the tooth has been out of the mouth for more than 20 minutes, then the dentist will need to soak the tooth in a balanced salt solution for about a half hour and then put it in an antibiotic before re-implanting it. The salt solution helps to keep the periodontal ligament cells alive and reduces the chance of them dying and your tooth attaching directly to bone.

The dentist will then remove the splint. Studies have shown that if the splint is kept on the teeth for more than 7-10 days, there is a good chance that cells in your body will start to eat away at the root of the tooth (a process known as root resorption).
If your permanent tooth falls out or is knocked out, your dentist may be able to save it, especially if you get to the office within 30 minutes. Do not handle the tooth by the root or roots. This might damage the roots and decrease the chance for a successful reattachment. You can rinse the tooth with water, but do not scrub or brush it. Place it in a container with a lid or wrap it in gauze. Immediately call your dentist or go to an emergency room.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.