Author: Katie MacMillan
Picture this: you’re playing frisbee on the beach, you’re running, running, running and oh! You trip and hit your mouth. Ouch! Your tooth just got knocked out, your mouth is probably bleeding from the impact, and this is not an ideal situation. What do you do now?
Lucky for you, teeth that have been knocked out are usually able to be replanted back in your mouth! However, there is an ideal way to act after the incident and time is of the essence! We want to minimize dry time for the tooth so start by gently picking up the tooth. It is best to pick it up by the crown, which is the top part of your tooth that you chew with, not the root portion (Bone, 2020). Next, rinse the tooth gently with some water. After that, the most ideal storage medium is Hank's balanced salt solution (HBSS), but we understand you may not have this so instead, try to put your tooth back into its normal position in your mouth (Bone, 2020). If you cannot put the tooth back in your mouth, place it in a glass of milk for up to 6 hours if available, or water as a last resort. Do not put the tooth in salt water. After these steps, call your dentist immediately or go to the emergency room.
It is important to act quickly in these circumstances. If you are able to place the tooth back in its socket within 5 minutes, there is a good chance your tooth may survive. After the first 5 minutes, if you can promptly store the tooth properly, then your tooth still has a good chance of being replanted (HealthLinkBC, n.d). However, if it has been longer than 60 minutes, the likelihood that your tooth can be restored is quite low (HealthLinkBC, n.d).
While it is important to know how to protect your tooth if it has been knocked out, the best protection for your teeth is prevention! If you are an athlete who participates in contact sports, or a sport with a chance of mouth injury, it is important to wear a mouthguard because the tooth fairy will not help you with this one!
Bone, M. and J. T. (2020, August 7). Why You Must Act Fast When a Tooth Gets Knocked Out. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/must-act-fast-tooth-gets-knocked/.
HealthLinkBC. (n.d.). Knocked-Out Tooth: First Aid. HealthLink BC. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/sig240330.