DENTAL TRAUMA- knocked out teeth

It is important to know what to do in any kind of emergency and Dental is no different. Sometimes when there is a trauma the minutes after are crucial. Want to know the best thing to do when you or someone you know has a dental trauma?

What can dental Trauma look like?

  • broken teeth
  • cracked teeth
  • chipped teeth
  • avulsed teeth – when a tooth comes completely out of the bone and socket
  • luxated teeth – A term for when a tooth is displaced but hasn’t come fully out of the socket
  • intruded teeth – when a tooth is pushed further into the socket
  • split or swollen lip
  • cut or bleeding gums

What to do when a Dental Trauma occurs

When you or someone you know has a dental injury there are two things to do.

  1. Assess the Injury – first check what kind of injury occurred, are there any other immediate issues to address before teeth?
  2. Try to save the teeth – if possible, you need to keep alive the effected teeth

Trying to Save the tooth

It is important to remember a tooth is a vital thing, meaning it is alive, it has a nerve and blood vessels. When a tooth experiences significant trauma, it can die. A dead tooth no longer has any blood supply, and the nerve no longer provides sensations. This can cause complications later down the track. Dead teeth are more brittle and prone to cracking, they have short lifespans.

When a tooth is knocked out or disturbed in its environment its life comes under threat. This threat is a lot more drastic if the tooth is knocked out completely.

If the tooth has only been dislodged from its position, try to move it back to its original position and hold it there by gently biting on a scrunched cloth or napkin.

In the case the tooth has completely come out, we have outlined some options below to try and save it.


When a tooth that has come out completely firstly, check if you can place it back into the socket. Sometimes this is not possible as the trauma is too large, and the person is in too much pain. It’s important to assess the situation, do not force the tooth back into place if it is not clear where it came out from. The best chance that tooth has is when it is placed back into the socket.

Because the tooth is loose and unable to be anchored to anything you will need get the person to gently hold the tooth in place until you are able to get an emergency appointment with a dentist. Alternatively, after you have placed the tooth back into its socket, the person can gently bite down onto something to wedge the tooth in place. For example, they could bite on scrunched up napkins, or a scrunched-up cloth, something soft and able to be wedged in the mouth safely.


If placing the tooth back into the socket is not an option, then the next best thing is to place the tooth in Milk. The proteins and minerals in milk make it uniquely able to preserve a tooth well for a short amount of time.


If milk is not an option, the next best thing is to store it in saliva, ideally the saliva of the person whose tooth it is. Another option is to store the tooth in the persons cheek by having the person hold it there – but this should not be done in young children due to the risk of aspiration or swallowing.

What will the Dentist do?

It is best to try and see a Dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will assess the situation. If the tooth is not in place they will likely try to place it back in. If appropriate your Dentist may choose to use some anesthetic to keep the person comfortable whilst they are working.

Your dentist will also splint the tooth to the ones on the side of the effected tooth. Often filling material is used to attach the effected tooth to the ones next to it. This provides the tooth support whilst it heals. Very similar to when you see growing plants attached to sticks, to support them as they grow.

The dentist will then book a follow up appointment whenever they see fit, could be a week or less, to check in on how the healing is going and how the tooth is going. They may choose to take an x-ray to monitor the tooths health and they may also ask for another appt in a couple more weeks to check the tooth again.

Signs the tooth might be Dying

When the trauma is over, and the healing is done it is important to continue monitoring the tooth. This is easily done by your dental professional checking the tooth at your checkups. Otherwise, you can help by knowing what the signs of a dying tooth are, and if you experience any of these signs you should see your dental professional as soon as possible.

  • Pain from the tooth
  • The tooth changes colour
  • a cyst forms on the gum near the tooth

A tooth can die at any time after it has had a trauma, sometimes years and years later, if you are worried about an of your teeth please seek the advice of a Dental professional.

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