Dental emergency: how to save a knocked out tooth

Are your children prone to accidents, especially over the holidays? Here is some advice from a dentist on how to handle a dental emergency, and what to do if you knock out a tooth.

School holidays, festivities, fun and frivolities can sometimes come hand in hand with accidents and emergencies.

Dentist Dr Fadi Yassmin says that in past years, Bupa dental clinics have noticed a spike in accidents over the Christmas period, especially in children. 

“There’s lots of excitement with new bikes and trampolines as Christmas gifts, which, combined with nicer weather and kids home from school, means more outdoor activity. Unfortunately though this does contribute to the amount of dental accidents we see,” Dr Yassmin said.

While a knocked out tooth can be fairly traumatic experience, there are certain things you can do which can help increase your chance of saving the tooth.

“Losing baby teeth is [usually] less problematic, but if older kids or adults loose a tooth, the best thing they can do is find the tooth, clean it with milk and either reposition it in the mouth or store it in a glass of milk before getting to your dentist.

Here are some more handy tips in case a dental emergency occurs:

Saving a knocked out tooth

  1. Find the tooth. Be sure to pick it up and hold it by its crown (the flatter surface). Don’t touch it at the root as you may damage the fibres that help anchor the tooth in your jaw.
  2. Clean it. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it quickly in milk or some saliva to remove any dirt or debris.
  3. Reposition it in the socket. The sooner you put your tooth back in your mouth, the better your chance of saving it. 
  4. Store it. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, don’t stress. Keep it clean and moist by storing it in a glass of milk or in your mouth next to your cheek. 
  5. Call an emergency dentist. Time is critical in saving a tooth, so contact your dentist immediately. Bupa Dental opening hours over the holiday period can be found here. Clinics are open to both Bupa members and non-members.
Boy with missing teeth

Caring for a chipped, fractured or cracked tooth

  1. Clean the area. Rinse your mouth with warm or salty water. 
  2. Call your dentist clinic. It’s important to see your emergency dentist as soon as possible to avoid further damage or infection. Bupa Dental opening hours over the holiday period can be found here
  3. Reduce swelling by using an icepack wrapped in a clean towel or a cold compress on your face if needed.
  4. Stick to soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth when eating.

Hopefully your holidays will be accident free, but that doesn’t mean you should stop worrying about the health of your teeth.

“Christmas is also a time where we all tend to eat and drink a bit more than usual, especially sugary food, so it’s worth giving teeth a bit of extra focus and brush for a full two minutes [twice a day],” said Dr Yassmin.

Up next: How to avoid a dentist phobia

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