About one in four children in the UK will injure a front tooth at some stage. Tooth injuries also happen to some adults. Sometimes a tooth may be completely knocked out. This leaflet tells you what to do.
These teeth start coming out naturally at about age 6 or 7. If one is knocked out earlier by accident - leave it out. Do not try and put it back as this may damage the adult tooth growing underneath. The adult tooth will grow eventually. Give some paracetamol mixture (Calpol®, Disprol®, etc) or ibuprofen if the injured gum is sore.
These are commonly knocked out in older children and sometimes in adults. If one of these teeth is knocked out it is vital that:
An adult at the scene of the accident will usually be able to place the tooth back into its socket in the injured person's mouth.
A tooth may be knocked into some mud or dirt. Rinse the tooth in some cold water or milk. Do not scrub it or put it in disinfectant. This will damage the delicate cells on the root needed to attach the tooth back to the gum.
The cells at the root of the tooth will usually attach firmly back to the tooth socket if they do not die. These cells at the root of the tooth will soon dry out and die if the tooth is not put back quickly. If they die, the tooth will not attach again. The sooner a tooth is put back, the greater the chance of success.
Put the tooth in a cup of milk or saline and see a dentist as soon as possible. The tooth must be kept moist. Milk is the ideal liquid to put the tooth in. Do not put the tooth in water as plain water damages the delicate cells whereas milk or saline are much better at preserving the cells. If milk or saline are not available, put the tooth in the injured person's mouth between their cheek and the gum. If the tooth is kept moist with any of these methods until it is put back in its socket there is a greater chance of permanent recovery. It may still be successful up to 24 hours after the accident.
If you cannot see a dentist immediately after the accident, go to the local casualty (accident and emergency) department.