Knocked out or broken teeth – What to do?

Accidents happen and sometimes our teeth get knocked out or damaged.

If a permanent adult tooth is knocked out, there is an excellent chance that the tooth will survive if it is immediately placed back in the tooth socket and dental health advice is sought straight away.

Act quickly as every minute the tooth is out of the socket, the less chance it has of surviving.

Adult tooth knocked out – what to do?

The following steps are advised if an adult tooth is knocked out.

  • Stay calm and act quickly.
  • Locate the tooth and hold it by the crown (smooth white part).
  • If the root has dirt on it, gently rinse the tooth in milk or saline solution such as contact lens solution for a few seconds only – do not use water or scrub.
  • If the person is conscious, hold the cleaned tooth by the crown and replace it into its socket using light pressure.
  • Hold the tooth in place by getting the person to gently bite on a handkerchief.
  • Seek immediate advice or treatment from an oral health professional

If you can’t place the tooth back in its socket:

Do NOT try to put a baby tooth back in its socket.

  • Do not let it become dry.
  • Place the tooth in milk or saliva (preferably the patient’s). DON’T use tap water.
  • Seal it in plastic wrap.
  • Seek immediate advice or treatment from an oral health professional.

Knocked out baby tooth – what to do?

Do not try to put a baby tooth back in its socket because:

  • It may fuse to the socket, which leads to difficulties when it is time for the tooth to be shed.
  • It may damage the permanent tooth underneath the socket.
  • Seek immediate advice or treatment from an oral health professional.

Broken or fractured tooth – What to do?

Cracked or fractured teeth may or may not be painful. It is recommended that you see an oral health professional, as early recognition can improve the survival of the damaged tooth.

  1. If the tooth fragment is broken and is intact, store it in milk or saliva (preferably the patient’s).
  2. Seal it in plastic wrap.
  3. See an oral health professional as soon as possible.

For public dental emergency care call 1300 651 625, between 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, visit your Emergency Department of your local hospital.