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What To Do When A Tooth Falls Out


Whether it’s due to an accident, decay, or another issue, knowing what to do next is crucial for preserving dental health and potentially saving the tooth if possible. Whether a tooth has been knocked out due to an accident, sports, or other trauma, or it has fallen out for other reasons, it may be possible to reattach the tooth. While this is not always possible, reacting quickly and taking the right steps increases the chances of saving a tooth. The emergency dentist can then decide if the tooth is salvageable.

Before An Emergency

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what to do before an emergency, so you know what to do without having to look up the steps. You should also find an emergency dentist, so you don’t have to start looking for one when a dental emergency, like losing a tooth, occurs. This can save you precious time.

Steps to Follow When a Tooth is Knocked Out or Falls Out

If you have just lost a tooth, follow these steps.

Stay Calm

The first step is to stay calm. While losing a tooth is upsetting and likely painful, remaining calm and taking appropriate action increases the chances that the tooth can be saved.

Find the Tooth

If the tooth has fallen out completely, try to find it. Handle it by the crown (the visible part of the tooth) and avoid touching the root. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently with water. Do not scrub or remove any tissue attached to it. Even if it looks damaged, take care of it and take it to the dentist to see if it is salvageable.

Handle the Tooth Carefully

If it is clean, and it is not too painful, you can gently place it back into the socket until you can see a dentist. Otherwise, store it in a clean container of milk, saline, or saliva.

Seek Immediate Dental Care

Time is critical for saving a tooth. Contact your dentist or an emergency dental clinic immediately. Explain your emergency; urgent cases are prioritized as necessary. Follow any instructions from the dental office carefully.

Control Bleeding

In the meantime, until your emergency appointment, if there is excessive bleeding from the socket where the tooth fell out, apply gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth to help stop the bleeding. Avoid using aspirin or other blood-thinning medications, as they can exacerbate bleeding.

Manage Pain and Swelling

If you’re experiencing pain or swelling, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Applying a cold compress to the affected area can also help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.

Temporary Solutions

Until you see an emergency dentist, you may be able to use temporary solutions to protect the area and alleviate discomfort. Over-the-counter dental cement can be used to cover the exposed tooth socket temporarily. Avoid chewing on the affected side to prevent further damage.

toothache compress analgesic


After receiving emergency treatment, extra care is necessary. Ongoing dental care is crucial for monitoring healing, addressing any complications, and preventing future dental issues.

Follow Up with Your Dentist

After the initial emergency care, follow up with your dentist for further evaluation and treatment. They will assess the extent of the damage and recommend appropriate interventions, which may include reattaching the tooth, performing a root canal, or other restorative procedures.

Prevent Future Incidents

There are ways you can reduce your risks of future dental emergencies. Wear a mouthguard during sports or activities with risks of impacts. Practice good oral hygiene to maintain oral health. Ongoing, schedule routine appointments with your dentist for cleanings, exams, and preventive care, to preserve dental health and ensure any issues are caught as early as possible.

Restorative Options

Depending on the severity of the injury and the condition of the tooth, your dentist may recommend restorative options such as dental implants, bridges, or crowns to replace a lost tooth, or a crown may be placed to strengthen the tooth if it could be reattached. Your dentist will explain your options fully.

If the tooth could not be reattached, and you are left with a gap, further care will be needed to prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting and tilting into the gap, leading to bite misalignment and potential jaw problems and other oral health concerns. A bridge or a dental implant may be recommended.

If the tooth was reattached, it will be vulnerable for a time. Your dentist will stabilize it in the socket using splints or other dental devices. You’ll be given detailed care instructions, including not using it for a period of time. A dental crown will likely be recommended to strengthen the tooth. Follow-up appointments will be necessary to monitor progress. Also, if the tooth’s pulp was damaged, root canal therapy may be necessary.

If your tooth is loose or has fallen out, or if you’re facing another dental emergency, contact an emergency dentist promptly. Delaying treatment can prolong discomfort and lead to more extensive, lasting tooth damage. Orchard Park Dental provides emergency dental care; let us know your situation, and we’ll prioritize your appointment.


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