Tooth loss is a common problem in the United States. Approximately one in four adults over the age of 65 have eight or fewer teeth. Actually, one in six adults over 65 have lost every single one of their teeth.

What do you do when you have a knocked-out tooth?

No matter what your age is, a single knocked-out tooth can be repaired quickly if you act fast. Losing a tooth is a dental emergency. It can save you further dental work down the road if you can get to a dentist right away.

In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know if you’ve had your tooth knocked out and want to take fast action.

What Should You Do If Your Tooth Is Knocked Out?

There are a couple of things you want to verify if you or a loved one has lost a tooth. If it’s a child who has had a tooth knocked out make sure it is an adult tooth. It may be a baby tooth that will not be re-implanted because the adult tooth will soon move in.

Regardless of whose tooth pops out, make sure not to touch the tooth by the root. This is because there are very important fibers called periodontal ligaments. These ligaments are key to having a proper recovery.

Instead, handle the tooth that has been knocked out by holding it on the surface where you would normally chew.

If your tooth has fallen into some dirt, rinse it very briefly with water under the sink, but do not scrub or attempt to make it perfectly clean.

The next you want to do is try to put the tooth back into the socket where it came from. If you can’t do this, you have a dental emergency and need to immediately go see the nearest dentist. Check out this article by Seattle Dentistry to learn more about what constitutes a dental surgery emergency.

Why Is Time Important?

Ultimately, time will be the essential determining factor in whether or not your tooth survives as is. If you can replace the tooth back into the socket within five minutes, there’s a good chance the tooth will survive. It will be able to receive adequate nourishment and ultimately restore the disrupted fibers and connections with the rest of your gums.

If it takes between 5 and 60 minutes to restore the tooth to the socket, it still has a good survival rate. This is provided that proper handling and storage have occurred and fibers have not been damaged.

Unfortunately, if the tooth is not replaced back into the socket within the first 60 minutes, the overall chance that the tooth will survive rapidly drops.

If you go to the dental office, they will re-implant the tooth into the socket and create a splint to attach it to the teeth next door. The splint will be in place for several weeks, and eventually, the dentist will perform a root canal to ensure long-term survival.

Fast Action with a Knocked-Out Tooth

At the end of the day, if you have a knocked-out tooth, you need to take timely action to ensure the overall survival of the tooth. If you can re-implant the tooth within 60 minutes, and especially within five minutes, the chances of survival are high. Still, make sure to go see a dentist or emergency provider to get definitive treatment.

If you enjoyed this article about emergency dental issues, please check out the other articles on our blog!