What To Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out

What To Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out

First-aid guides often tell us to transport a tooth to the dentist in milk — or better yet, tucked under your tongue where it can stay covered in saliva. But it’s OK to put the tooth back in its socket, and in fact, that’s what dentists recommend.

Photo by Partha S. Sahana.

You’ll want to rinse the tooth off first if it’s dirty (but only take a few seconds to do this, and don’t touch the root). If you’re able to put it back in its socket, bite down on something soft, like a handkerchief, and head straight for the dentist. If you can’t get it back in, keep the tooth covered in saliva — either under your tongue, or spit into a carrying container.

The dentist will probably give you a course of antibiotics, and recommend a root canal to combat infection. None of this is recommended for a baby tooth, though — tell the kid to put it under their pillow and enjoy an early visit from the tooth fairy.

Avulsion First Aid [Dental Trauma Guide]


  • I’ve heard that a root canal is one of the most painful things that you can experience… Hope I never have to get one.

    • i had to get one because of a knocked out tooth like 5 years ago, it didn’t hurt at all, just felt unpleasant. pretty sure it was done with local anaesthetic.

    • Nah, not any more. I inherited a condition where I’ve got rubbish enamel, so I’ve had 3 root canals now, 2 from developed cavities and 1 from a head clash. Plenty of things hurt more than root canal, it wouldn’t even make my list of “most painful things”.

    • Root canals aren’t too bad (I’ve had a couple). If given the choice between a root canal and kidney stones, choose a root canal, even if it’s without anaesthetic.

  • i remember when i was a kid, they used to say that if you knock a tooth out, to put it in a glass of milk until you get to the doctor. but that was like over 20 years ago, so im not sure that advice holds any merit anymore.

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