Even though your adult teeth seem strong and secure, it doesn’t take a lot to accidentally knock them out. You could get hit with a ball or run into another player while playing sports. Or you might trip on an uneven surface and fall face first onto the pavement. It can happen very quickly and can often come as a huge shock. If you are unsure what to do next or don’t act quickly, it could be impossible to salvage your knocked out tooth. So if this ever happens to you or anyone you know, use this guide to help you know what to do next.

Find your tooth

The first thing you need to do is find the tooth or teeth that you have knocked out. You may still be disorientated after the accident, so ask your friends or sports team to help you. Make sure everyone knows to pick the tooth up by the white crown. The root will still be attached but if this is touched it can cause further damage to the tooth. Once, you have located your knocked out tooth or teeth check to see if they are dirty. The root in particular needs to be clean before it can be reinserted. Refrain from using water and gently rinse the tooth with a saline solution or milk instead. This needs to be done as quickly as possible.

Put the tooth back in

As unpleasant as it might sound, the next thing you need to do is reinsert the tooth back into your mouth. The socket might be slightly sore and painful due to your accident, so insert the tooth gently. Make sure it is the right way round and in the right position too. Then hold the tooth in place with cotton wool or a gauze until you get medical attention from a dentist or hospital. If you’re struggling to reinsert the tooth, put a saline solution or some milk into a small tub or bottle with a lid. Never force the tooth back into place as this can cause more damage and be very painful. You might also experience some bleeding from your mouth, but this is common with this kind of injury

Get help

Now you need to make your way swiftly to a hospital or emergency dental practice. Don’t forget to take your tooth with you if you’ve been unable to reinsert it. The dentist or doctor will be able to stop the bleeding, provide pain medication and discuss what options you have now. If they are able to reattach your tooth permanently, they will want to do it as quickly as possible. If your tooth is past repairing you might be referred to bridge or implant dentists who will be able to offer a tooth replacement. The sooner you get medical attention, the higher the chance the tooth or teeth will be saved.

Now you know exactly what you have to do, you can act calmly and quickly should this occur. A knocked out tooth is considered a dental emergency. So get medical help immediately after the accident has occurred.