Dental Emergency: What To Do If You Experience Mouth Trauma

Here’s a scary statistic:

More than 5 million teeth get knocked out every year, and as many as 39% of those dental injuries are related to sports.

If you or loved one play contact sports – or actually, if you have children, period – it’s important to know what to do if a tooth gets knocked out. You may think you can handle it by, say, sticking the tooth in an envelope, but that would be a mistake.

At Soft Touch Dental in San Diego, we’ll do everything we can to fix your knocked-out tooth, but what you do between the accident and your arrival at our office can make a huge difference in what we’re able to accomplish.

Here are some tips on what do if you experience mouth trauma and dental injuries.

Pick up the tooth by the crown.
Locate the tooth right away. Pick it up by the crown (the chewing surface), not by the root (the part that was under the gum). The root is easily damaged, and it’s important that you take extra care with it.

Rinse the tooth with milk, but do not wipe.
You need to rinse dirt off the tooth before Step 3. Milk is a great choice because it helps maintain the correct fluid balance in the tooth’s root, which allows it to survive longer. If milk is not available, water will work.  Do not scrub or use any kind of soap or chemicals, and do not risk damage by wiping the tooth or wrapping it with anything.

Reposition the tooth in the socket if you can.
Carefully push the tooth back into the socket, but don’t force it. Make sure it is facing the right direction. If you can get it into the socket, bite down gently or use your fingers to keep it in place. If you cannot manage to fit the tooth back into the socket, try keeping it between your cheek and gum. If your child is the one who has lost a tooth, skip to Step 4.

Keep the tooth moist.
Children may not be able to hold the tooth in their mouth, but it’s still important to keep it moist. Place the tooth in a glass of milk if you can. If milk is not available, have the child spit into a cup and place the tooth within the saliva. Water can be used as a last resort for keeping the tooth moist, but it’s not recommended as a long-term solution because the tooth root cells won’t tolerate it for long periods of time.

Get to the dentist ASAP.
The sooner we can address the situation, the higher the likelihood that the tooth can be saved.  It’s ideal to get to the dentist within 30 minutes, but if you follow the above steps, it may be possible to save the tooth after it’s been outside the mouth for an hour.

We’re here when you need us.

At Soft Touch Dental, we want to save your tooth as much as you do. So, when you arrive, Dr. Fakhimi will assess the condition of your tooth and your mouth, and get started on the solution right away. In some cases, it may be a simple fix, but if the tooth or bone is broken, it may be more complicated. In any case, you’ll be in excellent hands with Dr. Fakhimi and the rest of our staff.

Also, if you play contact sports or are the parent of a child who does, talk to us about a custom athletic mouthguard. Although dentistry does offer solutions for dental injuries, there’s no solution out there that beats prevention.