Caring for a knocked-out tooth


What do you do if your child’s permanent tooth gets knocked out? First, consider this an emergency situation. If your child’s head, face, or jaw were injured, immediately go to the hospital emergency room.

If your child seems fine, call your dentist right away and explain the situation. You’ll need to get dental care as soon as possible. The faster you can get your child to the dentist, the greater the chances of reattaching the tooth. The first 30 minutes are most important, but a tooth may be saved even up to an hour out of the mouth.

To protect the tooth before you reach the dentist’s office, follow these steps:

  • Holding the tooth at the top (not the root), rinse it gently in cool water. Do not scrub or use soap. If there is tissue attached to the root, leave it there.

  • It is important to keep the tooth from drying out. If possible, gently place the tooth back into the gum socket and hold it there with a washcloth or gauze.

  • If you can’t put the tooth back in place, the next best thing is to put it in a tooth preservation kit solution available at local pharmacies (e.g. Save-A-Tooth), or in a closed container of milk, or in the mouth next to the cheek.

  • Don't let the tooth dry out.

To help prevent another emergency like this, there are steps you can take to protect your child’s mouth and teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children wear a mouth guard when playing sports that could cause a dental injury. In addition, always buckle young children securely into a car seat — and make it a rule that older kids must wear a seat belt whenever they ride in a car. It is the law in most states.



"Knocked Out Teeth" American Academy of Endodontists. Accessed 2016.

“Emergency Care” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Accessed 2016.

“Dental Emergency” American Dental Association. 2016.

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