Duncan Keith, a hockey player with the Chicago Blackhawks, barely blinked when he lost seven teeth after getting hit in the mouth with a puck in an NHL championship game against the San Jose Sharks in 2011. He even joked afterward: “You’ve got to leave it all on the ice.”
For most of us, of course, knocked-out teeth is no laughing matter.
A knocked-out tooth is probably the most serious dental emergency that most of us will ever face. So what should you do if a tooth gets knocked out?
Can This Knocked-Out Tooth Be Saved?
Dr. Hood Biggers, our dentist here at Biggers Family Dentistry, saw his share of knocked-out teeth when he served as the official dentist of the Richmond Renegades, a professional hockey team that played in the ECHL from 1990 until 2003. So he knows exactly what to do to save your tooth!
We know how to handle any dental emergency, including a knocked-out tooth. Call Biggers Family Dentistry at 804-621-2199.
Whether it’s your tooth or the tooth of a child or other family member, here are six important tips for dealing with a knocked-out tooth.
No. 1: Keep Your Dentist in Your Contacts
Time is of the essence when dealing with a knocked-out tooth. The first and most important thing to do is to call your dentist as soon as possible. Our Midlothian, VA dentist office shares a number for our patients to use in the event of dental emergencies. It is a good idea to enter that number into your smartphone so it is right at your fingertips if you need it.
Depending on your situation, our Dr. Biggers will want to see you or your family member as quickly as he can to address your dental emergency, even if he has to schedule you for an appointment outside his normal business hours.
No. 2: Clean the Tooth – But Not Too Much
If the tooth is very dirty and/or bloody, gently rinse it with water. Do not use soap or any other cleaning agents, and do not scrub the knocked-out tooth. Handle it as gently as possible, being especially careful with the root if it is attached to the tooth.
No. 3: Keep the Tooth in Your Mouth, If You Can
Your mouth is the best place to store a knocked-out tooth until you can see Dr. Biggers. If possible, carefully put it back into the socket and hold it there with your fingers or by gently biting down on it. Another option is to position it next to your cheek.
Either way, you will keep it damp with your own saliva; this is the best way to preserve the root of the tooth and makes it more likely that we can save your tooth.
No. 4: Be Careful How You Store Your Knocked-Out Tooth
If you cannot keep the knocked-out tooth in your mouth, there are other options. Probably the best one is a retail product called Save-A-Tooth. It is a small container of a solution approved by the American Dental Association. According to the manufacturer, it will preserve and nourish a knocked-out tooth for 24 hours. You drop the tooth into the solution, reseal the container, and get to your dentist as quickly as possible. Save-A-Tooth can be ordered online, directly from the manufacturer or from retail shopping sites like Amazon.
If you have not purchased Save-A-Tooth to proactively plan for a dental emergency, you should cover your knocked-out tooth in milk and securely seal it in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Milk is far better than water for preserving your tooth.
Do not wrap your knocked-out tooth in anything like tissue or a cloth.
No. 5: Proactively Plan for Dental Emergencies
As with any medical emergency, planning ahead is best. So it is a good idea to put together a dental emergency kit that includes Save-A-Tooth.
Other supplies to keep in your dental emergency kit include:
- Sterile gauze, which can be used to stop bleeding
- Tweezers, which can make it easier to handle knocked-out teeth or fragments of broken teeth
- Non-aspirin pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which will reduce your pain level
- Dental cement, which can be used to reattach crowns or fillings that come off
Other than Save-A-Tooth, all these dental emergency kit supplies can be purchased at most drugstores.
No. 6: Calm Down
No matter how the tooth got knocked out, chances are it was a pretty traumatic experience for you or your family member. It is especially upsetting if there is bleeding and pain. Stop the bleeding with gauze and take a pain reliever. Be sure to use a non-aspirin pain reliever; aspirin thins the blood, so it is not a good choice if you are bleeding.
If Biggers Family Dentistry is your Midlothian, VA dentist, you can feel confident that Dr. Hood Biggers will do everything he can to keep your tooth. Given that his patients have included a team of professional hockey players, he knows plenty about saving knocked-out teeth! Call Biggers Family Dentistry at 804-621-2199.