What to Do when a Tooth is Knocked-Out

Unfortunately, a knocked-out tooth (avulsed) is a common dental emergency among children. It can be estimated that 300 teeth are knocked out each week in Brisbane alone. If your child’s permanent tooth gets knocked out, he or she needs to be seen by a dentist as soon as possible. Majority of the teeth knocked out each week could be reinserted and saved by the parents and emergency dentists in Brisbane

Do Not Re-plant a Knocked-Out Primary Tooth

You should not re-plant a knocked-out baby tooth (primary or milk tooth) back into the gum socket. The reason for not re-planting a baby tooth is the risk of injury to the underlying permanent (adult) tooth germ. You should still take your child to the dentist ASAP for a check-up to ensure nerves and blood vessels are not badly damaged after a dental trauma. Another reason not to re-implant a baby tooth is chances of ankylosis. Ankyloses is a bony fusion of the tooth with the alveolar bone that may cause deformities in the face.

I have put this article together so that parents are aware of the correct way to store and handle a knocked-out-tooth. When these steps are followed, un-intentional damage to the tooth and unnecessary loss of avulsed teeth is hopefully minimised.

When a knocked-out tooth is a milk tooth (a baby tooth), do not try to re-plant it into the gum socket. On the other side, if the knocked-out tooth is a permanent tooth (adult tooth), you can try to reinsert it back into the gum socket while waiting for your emergency dental care. 

A Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth Should be Re-planted ASAP

Re-inserting a permanent tooth back into its gum socket gives the tooth a higher chance of survival. the less time the tooth is out of the mouth, the higher is the chance of survival of the knocked-out tooth. According to studies, teeth re-planted within 15 minutes has a 98% chance of being retained.

Benefits of re-planting a permanent knocked out tooth:

  • Far less expensive (compared to replacing a missing tooth).
  • More aesthetically pleasing
  • Less painful

Injuries to the face or neck van cause fracture in a child’s tooth or even knock out an entire tooth (avulsion).  The risk of injuries is the highest for the front upper teeth.

A tooth may get knocked out due to an extreme trauma to the face or the mouth. These are some of the common causes:

  • Falling when running around the pool
  • Falling down stairs
  • Falling off the bed
  • Skateboard Injuries

If it happens to your child:

Find the knocked-out tooth if you can and follow the steps below.

If you can’t find the tooth, you should still have your child seen by a dentist because the tooth may be knocked up into their gums.  

When you found the child’s knocked out permanent tooth:

  • Retrieve it by holding it by the crown (top white part)
  • You can rinse the tooth briefly and gently
  • Use a bowl of lukewarm water
  • Do not scrape or nib the tooth
  • Do not use running water
  • Do not touch the root (bottom yellow Part)
  • Keep the root from drying out (read below)

A permanent tooth can generally be re-implanted as long as there is no damage to the root. To protect the root against dehydration. You can keep it moist by putting the tooth into:

  • Skim milk
  • Lukewarm water
  • Contact lens solution
  • In contact with saliva in the mouth (when no risk of airway compromise), etc.


It is always recommended to have an emergency dentist’s phone number saved into your mobile. Being prepared just in case. You can save your child’s tooth if you keep calm and act fast. Time is quite vital. Try to make an emergency dental appointment and get your child to the dentist within an hour. Teeth cannot survive longer than 2 hours from the time they are knocked out.

Permanent teeth that have been knocked out can be re-planted with various degree of success. As mentioned above, primary teeth usually will not be replanted because it can risk the developing permanent tooth underneath it.  When treating an injured primary tooth, dentists consider their relation to the underlying permanent tooth germ. (Tooth germ is an aggregation of cells that eventually develop and grown into a tooth).

A promptly re-planted knocked-tooth (less than 20 min), has a good survival chance. In general, the quicker a permanent tooth is re-planted, the better is its chance of success. Being

prepared reduces the risks of losing a child’s tooth. You can find more information on Pure Dentistry website or book a consultation with one of our dentists to learn more. 24/7 online booking system available. Our address: 11/1932-1974 Logan Rd, Upper Mt Gravatt, QLD 4122 Phone: (07) 3343 4869.

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