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How To Save a Knocked-Out Tooth

Updated: Oct 23

According to American Dental Association, every year about five million teeth are knocked. It can happen during contact sports or due to an accident. In 2020 cycling and commuting on bicycle is on the rise, especially because of Covid-19, public sharing bikes are so widely available (read Divvy electric bikes come to Chicago) and we think it’s especially important to cover this topic now. So if you are a Divvy user, enjoy recreational biking or just want to be prepared, read on.



In medical terms, knocked out tooth is called “avulsed” (dental avulsion) and means complete displacement of a tooth from its socket. However, it does not necessarily mean that the tooth is lost for good. It is important to know what to do if you hit your tooth, because proper emergency action can save the tooth. After reading this article you will know what to do so that it can be replanted successfully and last for years to come.



What Happens To The Tooth When It’s Knocked Out?


When a tooth gets knocked out, it damages the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues. Unfortunately, this damages not reversible in the nerves and blood vessels. This means that all avulsed teeth will require a root canal treatment. The good news? The bone has ability to reattach to the root once it’s put back into place correctly!


What To Do With a Knocked Out Tooth?


If we could tell you only one thing: Act quickly and call us for emergency appointment.

Please review and remember these 5 tooth-saving steps:


1. You should pick up the tooth by the the chewing surface (crown) . DO NOT touch the root.

As soon as possible locate the tooth and handle it carefully until you get to the dental office. Never touch the root of the tooth, only the crown.







2. If the tooth was on the ground and is dirty, gently rinse the it with milk or drinking water.

Use drinking water to gently wash away any dirt. Do not use soap or chemicals. Don’t scrub, dry or wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.




3. Place the tooth back in the socket immediately, if possible.

As soon as you can, try to put the tooth back into its socket. Take it by the crown and gently push the tooth with your fingers. Try closing your mouth slowly and keep it closed to keep the tooth in place.



4. Keep the tooth moist.

You must make sure that the tooth stays moist at all times. Placing it back in your socket is the best option. If it can’t be done, put it in milk or in your mouth next to your cheek. Again, do not use tap water; surface cells of the root can’t tolerate treated water prolonged period of time.




5. Visit an endodontist or family dentist within 30 minutes of accident.

Of course bring your tooth with you. We have best chances of saving your tooth if you come in right away.






What To Do If You Chip a Tooth


Most common dental injuries from bike accidents are chipped teeth, but knocking out a tooth is also possible. In case of a chipped tooth try and find the broken piece. There are techniques we can use to restore the broken tooth with the original piece. The chipped part of the tooth is quite fragile, so be careful with it. Put it in a bottle with drinking water or milk to keep it moist. If the chipped piece can not be located, don’t worry – there are other ways to restore the shape of the tooth.

What To Do if Your Tooth is Loose


If the tooth is loose, gently push it back into the gum. Keep applying firm pressure and wiggle. Moving it around can damage the root, nerves or surrounding tissues even further.


The final step is to set up emergency visit to your Chicago family dentist. Only your dentist can determine the extent of the damage and start the process of working to repair or save your tooth.


Steps To Avoid Chipped Teeth and Mouth Injuries


While going on any bike involved some risk, there are things every rider can do to make it safer. Taking the following steps will help prevent dental injuries while still getting out there to enjoy the bike paths and mountain trails!


Helmet is a must.

It doesn't matter if you are riding your bike on a sidewalk, local streets or on a mountain, helmet is a must. We recommend you get a helmet you love. Go into a bike shop and get fitted for a helmet. You’ll feel great wearing something that fits well and is protecting you!



Mouth guards.

Rubber mouth guards are another way to avoid injury to the teeth, tongue, and lips. If you are interested in getting a mouth guard, let us know and we will set you up with a custom-fitted mouth guard for biking or any other sport. You can also check the stores for the boil-and-bite mouth guard to make a store bought guard more comfortable.


While no-one wants to think about knocking out or chipping a tooth, if you ride a bike it can happen. These simple steps will help protect your mouth and possibly save you a tooth!


Related articles:

Missing Teeth-What Problems Do They Bring

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