Children have dental accidents all time. Losing teeth is a part of life everybody must go through. As painful as it might be, parents can assure them that a replacement tooth will be coming shortly. The idea of losing a tooth is never that dramatic until we lose one that we know can’t be replaced without cosmetic dentistry. At this point, children and adults are in the same boat. These are the most important steps to remember after knocking out a permanent tooth.


Time is of the essence whenever a tooth is knocked out. The sooner the tooth can be placed back in the mouth, the better chance it has of being secured into its socket by a dentist. All the following steps should be taken with a sense of urgency. But certain steps should not be disregarded for the sake of moving quickly.


Accidents can happen anywhere, such as the playground, front yard, or sports field. In most cases, a tooth may have accumulated dust and debris while it’s been on the ground or other unsanitary surface. When recovering the tooth, it must be grasped by the enamel, NOT the root. Before placing the tooth back in the mouth, it’s important to gently rinse the tooth with milk or water if no milk is available. If you must temporarily store the tooth, store it in milk or saliva, but not water as water will damage root surface cells. Rinsing the avulsed tooth prior to reinserting it into the gums will help avoid infection within the wound.

Re-insert the tooth

If there is a careful and competent person on hand, they should attempt to put the clean tooth back in its socket. This person should hold the tooth by the crown, and be careful not to touch the root in the gums. These very sensitive cells in the root are needed for the tooth’s re-attachment so they should not be damaged. If at all possible, be sure the tooth is inserted in its proper alignment.

Hold It Together

On the way to the dentist, a clean handkerchief should be held at the mouth, and the person should bite softly to keep the tooth in place.  If the tooth will not remain in the mouth, placing it in a cup of milk is best for keeping it clean and moist. Sometimes, milk is not available. That’s when keeping the tooth moist by holding it in the mouth between the gums and lip is another alternative, which may not be practical with young children.

Following these emergency procedures, and immediately seeking a dentist for an oral exam, should maximize the chances that the tooth can be reimplanted.