Can a Knocked Out Tooth Be Saved?

Can a Knocked Out Tooth Be Saved?

Team Dental Implants

Accidents can happen and sometimes they result in a knocked out tooth. While a knocked out tooth can be a frightening experience, it is often possible to save the tooth. The key factor in case of a dental trauma is time. If you or your child has a knocked out tooth, it is important to act quickly. Time could be the difference between saving or not saving the tooth. 

What To Do in Case of a Knocked Out Tooth

If a permanent tooth is knocked completely out of the socket, pick it up by the crown of the tooth and avoid touching the roots. Plug the drain of your sink and rinse the tooth in lukewarm water. Place the tooth back in the socket and bite down on some clean gauze or cloth and hold it in place. Then contact your endodontist. 

If you can’t get the tooth back into the socket, place it in a container of milk. Call your endodontist right away. The tooth must be put back in place within 30 minutes or it may not be able to be saved. Once the tooth dries out it is essentially dead and is no longer viable. 

What To Do for a Knocked Out Primary (Baby) Tooth

If your child’s primary (baby) tooth gets knocked out before it is ready to be naturally shed, do not attempt to put it back in the socket. Doing so may damage the permanent tooth beneath it. A baby tooth that still has the roots intact and was not loose before the accident was not ready to come out yet. In this case you should still give your endodontist a call because there may be necessary treatment due to the injury. Your child may also need a space maintainer to hold the place open for the permanent tooth to come in when it is ready. 

If the tooth was already loose and doesn’t have much root structure left, still contact your endodontist. We should make sure that there was no additional damage from the injury that requires treatment. 

How is a Knocked Out Tooth Saved?

In a situation where the tooth is able to be placed back in the socket, a dental splint can be used to stabilize the tooth while the natural support structures heal.  It is important to note that in most cases you will need a root canal after the splint is placed. The jaw bone, ligaments, and gum tissue will gradually tighten around the tooth until it is naturally stabilized again. Then the splint can be removed.

If the gum tissue was also damaged during the injury, a few stitches may be required to repair the gums so that they heal properly around the tooth. 

What if the Tooth Can’t Be Saved?

Unfortunately there are some cases where the knocked out tooth can’t be saved. Even if you act quickly, there can still be too much damage to the tooth to place it back in the socket. 

The good news is that with current dental technology, a tooth can be replaced with a few different options: 

  • Bridge. A dental bridge consists of two crowns that are placed over the teeth on each side of the missing tooth. They are connected to an artificial tooth, called a pontic, that is suspended between them. The natural teeth provide support for the artificial tooth. 
  • Dental implant. A dental implant consists of a titanium post that is surgically placed in the socket where the tooth is missing. It fuses with the bone in your jaw to form a solid bond to support an artificial tooth. 

Who Should I Call for a Knocked Out Tooth?

Eagle Endodontics provides prompt treatment for dental trauma such as a knocked out tooth. We know that time is of the essence in these situations and we respond quickly to after hours and emergency calls. We will do everything possible to save your tooth. 

In case of a dental emergency, call 781-863-2453 to reach our Lexington office or 617-612-5677 to reach our Belmont office. During regular office hours we will get you in as soon as possible. After hours, please follow the voicemail prompts and we will return your call as soon as possible.