If you’ve knocked out or broken a tooth through sports or an accident, you should consider it a medical or dental emergency, call your dentist and arrange to come in immediately. Alternatively, if it is late, and there are no 24/7 emergency dental services near you, call an ambulance and get to the hospital.
Do not delay. You only have one set of teeth.
Adult or child? (Emergency treatment differs)
- ADULT TEETH: If you’re an adult and one of your teeth has fallen out, try to put it back in place and get to the dentist or hospital as soon as you can. If you can’t put the tooth back in your mouth, place it in a small jar of milk.
- CHILDREN’S TEETH: If your child has knocked out a tooth, don’t try and put it back into position. Doing so may harm the adult tooth lying below. Instead, take the child to the dentist immediately.
Knocked out teeth (dental avulsions) – what to do:
- Try to find your tooth
- Avoid touching the roots of the tooth and instead hold it by the top part of the tooth that you normally see above the gum line – the crown
- Use your saliva to lick the tooth clean. Alternatively, rinse with water.
- Try to put the tooth back into the socket (if you can’t, place the tooth in some milk)
- Bite on some cloth or handkerchief to keep the tooth in place
- Get to the dentist (when calling the dental clinic, state that the situation is an emergency) or drive to a medical emergency centre immediately
What happens at the dentist?
If you place your tooth in milk, your dentist will apply anaesthetic to the affected area and then reposition the tooth. We will x-ray your mouth to check that your tooth is sitting in the right position. Then, your dentist will splint the tooth to your teeth on either side to keep it stabilised. Usually, a splint will stay on for two weeks.
If you’ve managed to put the tooth back in after the avulsion, your dentist, using x-rays, will assess the area and check that it sitting in the correct position. They will then splint the tooth for two weeks to allow time for it to stabilise in the jawbone.
Lost your tooth?
Sometimes, people accidentally knock out their teeth and can’t find them. When this unfortunate event happens, we’ll need to create a new artificial tooth for you. The gold standard solution is a dental implant – a small, screw-like device implanted into the jawbone below the gum line, acting as an artificial tooth root. Then, a new tooth – a crown – is attached to the implant via an abutment. Dental implants aren’t cheap, but they are the best solution, providing many benefits: They prevent neighbouring teeth from moving, as the implant acts as an artificial tooth root, keep the jawbone strong and provide the most stable, lifelike results.
If an implant isn’t a practical solution for you, your dentist may suggest a fixed bridge, where neighbouring teeth are ground down and replaced with a new dental crown, creating a bridge.
Alternatively, you could have a partial denture which clips onto neighbouring teeth, giving the appearance of a natural-looking tooth. This is the most affordable option.
If you have chipped your tooth or teeth, it is not as serious and can wait until the next day when our clinic is open again.
Come in as soon as you can so the dentist can inspect the situation.
One of our dentists will either apply composite bonding to give the appearance of a full, natural tooth, or alternatively, they may simply file or smooth down the chipped surface of the tooth.
This blog page has been fact-checked by Dentist Dr Aran Moorthy.