Emergency Care for a Knocked out Tooth

By Phil / April 11th, 2014

After spending some time in A&E this afternoon putting two front teeth back in for a 9yr old junior pony club games team member who had an accident this afternoon – I thought I would share a few pointers for anyone who finds themselves in the same situation. Some local hospitals don’t have any dental staff on at the weekend and time is of the essence if an adult tooth is knocked out. Any injury severe enough to knock adult teeth out I would recommend a visit to A&E to check for bone fractures or breaks.

If a baby tooth is knocked out (child under 6/7 usually) we don’t worry about the tooth although obviously the child needs checked for jaw fracture etc. If it is an adult tooth in one piece – if it can be put back in within 40mins-1hr the chances of success are much higher. The next day is too late as the clots will have begun to close the socket.

The most important thing is to find the tooth and then not touch the roots – even if there is a little dirt on them – just leave them. Ideally – put straight into a cup of milk to keep everything hydrated. In an older child – they can be popped into the cheek to keep moist in saliva – as long as there is no risk of them being swallowed.

The teeth can then be put back in – if you are confident that you have the tooth the right way round – it can be done immediately – the sooner the better the chances of success. Even with dirt on the roots – this can be covered with antibiotics. If you try to clean the tooth you will wash off crucial cells and the tooth will not heal back in the socket.

Re-implanted teeth will require further treatment and may not last a lifetime but are so much better than the alternatives for a child!! Dental implants are a wonderful treatment but can only be done after growth meaning usually early 20’s. This can leave a long time with a partial denture or an adhesive bridge for a young person.

If this happens to a patient of Cherrybank – please call the practice mobile on 0131 516 3373 (Edinburgh) or 01738 658262 (Perth) and we can give you advice. If you do not live in Edinburgh or Perth make sure you call your nearest emergency dentist.

Let’s hope this never happens again but if it does I hope everyone will now know what to do!


Last updated May 2nd, 2018