You don’t have to be a boxer or a hockey player to lose a tooth in everyday life. More than five million of them are knocked out each year. But contrary to popular belief, lost teeth can occasionally be saved. Quick thinking and the following tips should increase the likelihood that a knocked out tooth can successfully be replanted. Here’s what to do.
1. Find the tooth
Check the ground at the site of the accident for the lost tooth. Once you locate it, pick it up by the crown (the chewing surface), not by the root.
2. If dirty, rinse the tooth off with water
Do not wash, scrub, or clean the knocked out tooth with anything other than tap water. Run a gentle stream of water over the crown of the tooth to remove any debris, but stay away from the root; further damage to the area could make saving the tooth impossible.
3. Keep it moist
Since you don’t want the roots to dry out, place the knocked out tooth in the empty socket or in a glass of water or milk. Do not put the tooth in your pocket or any other dry environment.
4. See a dentist ASAP
As you might expect, the sooner the tooth is replaced, the greater the chance it can be saved.