My Child's Tooth Was Knocked Out - What Can I Do?

When a tooth has been knocked out, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged, too. The nerves and blood vessels can't be repaired. That is why all avulsed teeth will need a root canal. However, the bone can reattach to the root of the tooth once it's put back into place. The odds of saving a tooth are highest in young children, but adult teeth can be saved as well. Only permanent teeth should be re-implanted. It is important to get to the dentist as quickly as possible after a tooth has been knocked out. It is also important to avoid damaging the tooth even more.

Follow these suggestions to improve the chances of saving your tooth:

  • Handle the tooth carefully. Try not to touch the root (the part of the tooth that was under the gum). It can be damaged easily.
  • If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the upper part (the crown) and rinse it with milk. If you don't have any milk, rinse it with water. Don't wipe it off with a washcloth, shirt or other fabric. This could damage the tooth.
  • Keep the tooth moist. Drop it into a glass of milk. If you can't do this, place the tooth in your mouth, between the cheek and gum. A young child may not be able to safely "store" the tooth in his or her mouth without swallowing it. Instead, have the child spit into a cup. Place the tooth in the cup with the saliva. If nothing else is available, place the tooth in a cup of water. The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist.
  • Try slipping the tooth back into its socket. In many cases, it will slip right in. Make sure it's facing the right way. Don't try to force it into the socket. If it doesn't go back into place easily and without pressure, then just keep it moist (in milk, saliva or water) and get to the dentist as soon as you can.


  • If the tooth is intact (not broken in pieces), it is always a good idea to try to save it. Most importantly, give us a call right away to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience!