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Knocked out tooth

tooth; teeth; knock; knocked; out; dislodged;


So, your face has come into contact with… a ball…, a bat…., the ground…, the car seat…, your friend's head, and you now have a gap in your smile! A tooth has been knocked out. If it's a baby tooth, that's not a big deal, but if it's a permanent tooth then you need to find it because you could just be able to put it right back where it came from. 

  • When teeth are damaged or knocked out (dislodged), follow the first aid steps in this topic and get immediate dental care. See Resources below for emergency care in South Australia.

Any injury which was bad enough to knock a tooth out may have also cracked the bone around the tooth. It is important to see a dentist so this can be checked.

Permanent teeth

If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it should be replaced into the socket immediately. The tooth has an excellent chance of living, but the chances of it living get worse with every minute that the tooth is out of its socket.

What to do

  • Do not allow the tooth to dry out.
  • Do not scrape or rub the root surface.
  • If the tooth is clean, immediately put it back into the socket and hold it there firmly with your finger.
  • If it is dirty, and if the person is calm enough, get him to clean the tooth with saliva (spit).
    • If he cannot clean the tooth, it is better to rinse it briefly with milk than water
    • Do not rinse the tooth in water for any longer than 1 to 2 seconds
    • Then put it back into the socket.
  • Keep holding the tooth in place with fingers, or press aluminium foil over the replaced tooth and the teeth near it. Or get the person to bite down on a soft cloth pad (gauze or a clean handkerchief) to hold the tooth in position. This also helps stop bleeding and reduces pain.
  • Get immediate dental treatment.

What to do if it cannot be put into the socket

  • Completely cover the tooth in milk, or wrap it in some plastic wrap, to stop it drying out.
  • Get immediate dental treatment.

What to do if a tooth cannot be found

  • Have a careful search of the surrounding ground, the person's mouth and their clothes.
  • If the tooth cannot be found, still get immediate dental treatment, as there could be other damage to the jaw.

When you were a kid you got used to losing teeth and may even have looked forward to losing them (the tooth fairy again!)

As you get older, the last thing you want to do is lose any teeth, so try to avoid doing so. Wear a mouth guard when playing sports that include body contact or balls. Look after that great smile!

Baby teeth (deciduous teeth)

If a baby tooth is knocked out, do not place the tooth back into the socket.
You don't really need to find it - unless you want to save it for the tooth fairy!

  • Baby teeth which have been replaced tend to get stuck to the jaw bone, and there can be problems when it is time for the tooth to come out to make way for permanent teeth.
  • It is still important to see a dentist to make sure no other damage has been done.

Resources for South Australians

  • For South Australian families, emergency care can be obtained from your own dentist or school dental clinics (for children up to 18 years) (SA Health - Public Health Services - SA Dental Services in the phone book)
  • After hours - emergency care:
    • SA Dental Services (young people up to 18 years) - 8232 2651.
      (Mon - Fri 4.30pm - 10pm; weekends 9am-10pm)


South Australian Dental Service - Health Promotion.

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Youth Healthline on 1300 13 17 19 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
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