Emergency Dental Care

Knocked Out Tooth

Getting a tooth knocked out can be a scary, uncomfortable experience. Thankfully, knowing what steps to take after an emergency such as this can help your smile experience less of an impact.

What To Do

The very first thing you should do after having a tooth knocked out is to pick the tooth up and keep it moisturized. You can place it in a cup of water or milk. Take care not to try to clean the tooth off first, even if you think it is dirty. Simply letting tap water run over it is enough. Attempting to scrub it clean can damage microscopic fibers that would otherwise aid in reattachment.


Call your dental office immediately and let them know you’re on your way with the tooth. It’s best you have someone call for you and drive you there, as you’ll probably be in some discomfort or too shook up to drive. Your dental team will be ready for you when you arrive, and accommodate you very quickly. In the best circumstances, your dentist will be able to take your natural tooth and implant or bond it back into place. In other cases, the tooth may need to have bonding, a filling, crown, or be replaced completely.

Your dentist may offer options like:

  • Bonding the broken tooth piece back into place
  • Re-implanting the tooth back into the mouth
  • Placing a tooth colored filling over the broken area
  • Treating the nerve if damage has extended into the nerve chamber
  • Covering the tooth with a crown to preserve function and integrity

Potential Causes

Most knocked out teeth occur due to accidents or during athletic activities. People with severe overjets or overbites are at an increased risk for damage to the front teeth, since they are more prone to impact.

To reduce the risk of having a tooth knocked out, your dentist may recommend:

  • Orthodontic therapy
  • A custom-fitted athletic guard
  • Reducing habits that encourage tooth misalignment
  • Eliminating mouth-breathing

Risks Of Not Treating

Putting emergency dental treatment off may make it impossible for your tooth to be re-implanted or reinserted into your mouth. The faster you’re able to keep the tooth moisturized and access professional dental care, the better the outcome your smile will have.

Even if you’ve lost a broken part or your entire tooth, it’s still important to have your dentist check you mouth. There could be remaining fragments of tooth still inside of your mouth that could cause discomfort or infection. Not restoring the tooth that is chipped or broken as quickly as possible may make it non-restorable later on.

Benefits Of Treating

Treating the area as quickly as possible will expedite the healing process. Avoiding damage to the nerve can make treatment easier to complete. What could simply be a portion of the crown re-bonded to the tooth might otherwise progress to the point where the inside of the tooth becomes weakened and needs a root canal or a crown.

Electing to have a custom-made athletic guard not only prevents lip lacerations and broken or knocked out teeth, it can also reduce the chance of concussions. They feature many benefits over stock-type guards that can be purchased at a drug store. For instance, professional guards will stay securely in place at all times, even if trauma or a fall takes place. The athlete can also speak comfortably and drink water without worrying about the guard getting in the way.


Alternative Treatments

The choice of treatments for a knocked out tooth will greatly depend on the extent of damage to the tooth and to your mouth. Some of the popular treatment choices include:

Bonding – A broken piece of tooth can be permanently bonded back to the tooth. Or, a tooth colored bonding material can be used to rebuild the tooth’s structure.

Full Coverage Crown – Crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth, protecting their structural integrity for long-term use.

Root Canal Therapy – A tooth that has exposed nerve tissue due to trauma will need to be treated endodontically. This prevents the tooth from becoming abscessed, or discolored due to the tooth no longer being vital.

Extraction – Non-restorable teeth or root fragments will need to be removed. Doing so will prevent infection of the area surrounding the tooth.

Dental Implant – Implants can replace full teeth, and are even stronger than natural teeth. One or several teeth can be replaced with implants. 

Partial Denture / Flipper – A removable tooth replacement option that can replace several missing teeth at once.

Your teeth affect your personality, appearance, how you talk, and your diet. Investing in the best dental care possible is important for your life. If you’ve knocked a tooth out, please call your dentist immediately.