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You never know when an accident will knock out one or more teeth. A knocked-out tooth is no joke. It’s a dental emergency where time is of the essence, and taking the right steps is essential. Immediate care can prevent you from losing your tooth permanently.

The dental professionals at Grace Dental Group want you to protect your smile. Here are the steps you should take immediately if your tooth gets knocked out.

What to do if your tooth gets knocked out

If your tooth gets knocked out, you’re not alone. More than five million teeth are knocked out in the U.S. each year. Luckily, fast and calm action improves your chances of ultimately saving your tooth. Here’s what you should do:

Step 1: Retrieve the tooth

As soon as your tooth is knocked out, find it. When you locate the tooth, pick it up carefully, taking care not to touch the root.

Step 2: Clean the tooth

Hold the tooth by the chewing surface and gently dip it in a bowl of warm water.

Do not hold the tooth under running water, which damages the root. Do not wash with soap or clear debris with a cloth or your finger. Do not dry or wrap the tooth with a cloth.

If your gums are bleeding, rinse your mouth with warm water.

Step 3: Try to reinsert

Hold the clean tooth by the crown and gently insert it into your empty tooth socket. Bite down softly on a gauze pad to hold the tooth in place.

If you can’t put the tooth back into the socket, don’t force it.

Step 4: Moisten the tooth

Moisture helps prevent your tooth’s roots from drying out. If you’re not able to reinsert the tooth, hold it in your mouth next to your cheek to keep it moist. Take care not to swallow it.

You can also place the tooth in a glass of milk (not water).

Over-the-counter products exist that preserve a knocked-out tooth. If you play sports where a tooth injury is likely, it’s a good idea to have a preservative on hand.

Step 5: Seek dental care

The sooner you see a dentist, the more likely you are to save your tooth and smile. If you can’t see our dentists at Grace Dental Group or another emergency dentist, seek care at your nearest emergency room.

If your tooth is knocked out, or you have any other dental need, schedule an appointment by calling 415-506-5241, or by using our online booking tool.

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