Dental Trauma

Accidents Happen

If a tooth is broken, bumped or knocked out, what you do in the time before you can get into the Dentist will play a large role in the long term outcome. Of all the things on this website, this page is a must read, particularly if you have children.

What to do if a tooth is knocked out

First, try to determine if it is a baby or adult tooth. When baby teeth are knocked out we do not put them back in, and you don't need to give the tooth itself any special care. If it is an adult tooth, there is limited time to save the tooth.

Instructions for a knocked out Adult Tooth

  1. If the tooth is dirty rinse it off for 10 seconds or less in milk, water or saline. Do not try to scrub it and try not to touch the root.
  2. If possible, stick the tooth back into the socket immediately.
  3. If the tooth cannot be replanted, store it in milk or saline. Do not used water or juice. If milk or saline are not available tuck the tooth in your cheek. From the time the tooth comes out you only have 60minutes to get to the dentist before the connective tissue on the root dies.

What to do if a tooth has been knocked loose or out of position

Don't try to move or touch the tooth. If the tooth has become so loose you fear it may fall out, bite gently on gauze or sponge.  Get to the dentist as soon as you can. Usually these teeth will get more painful once the shock of the trauma begins to wear off, so it is a good idea to get to the dentist before the pain sets in.

What to do if a tooth is chipped

If there is pain to hot. cold or inhaled air after a tooth has been chipped, then the chip is deep enough to be in the dentin or nerve. In order to prevent permanent damage to the dental nerve, try to get into the office as soon as possible. If the fracture is deep enough bacteria may be able to pass into the nerve and infect the tooth.

Shallow fractures and chips that cause no discomfort are likely to be confined to the outer layers of the tooth, and are less urgent. However the rough and fractured surfaces are easy for bacteria to colonise, and are susceptible to decay and further fracture. These should be seen as soon as possible but are not an emergency.