Ask Dr. D: What do I do if my tooth gets knocked out?

May 29, 2015

Dear Dr. D,

I've heard the whole put-it-in-milk thing with teeth if they get knocked out. Is that really what we should do?

Thank you,

Lucia in McMinnville


Dear Lucia,

I was there when this happened to a friend's child once. She was swining from two sides of kitchen counter and fell right on her face, knocking her pretty front teeth out. If you can believe it, more than five million teeth get knocked out each year in America. But we don't have to lose these teeth forever.

Quick action is necessary in this case, and can make all the difference.

1. Locate the tooth

2. Pick it up, but try not to touch the root part. Do not wash it or scrub it with chemicals. Do not wrap in tissue or cloth.

3. Put the tooth back into its socket immediately. To reinsert, carefully push the tooth into the socket with fingers, or position above the socket and close mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place with fingers or by gently biting down on it.

4. Keep tooth moist at all time if you can't reinsert it. Put it in milk, or better, put it in the side of your cheek. 

5. See an endodontist or your dentist within 30 minutes. 

I hope that helps. Prevention is key, but in a pinch, you can save your tooth given the right approach.

Happy Brushing!

Dr. Adam Diesburg

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