My Child Knocked Out

My Child Knocked Out a Tooth! What Should I Do?

TeamChildren Pediatric Dentistry

A dental emergency, such as a dislodged tooth, can be a frightening experience, for a child and for a parent or caregiver. But in many cases the tooth can be saved, as long as you know what to do. 

When it comes to a knocked out tooth, quick action is crucial. The following instructions will help you handle the situation with the best possible outcome. 

Step By Step Instructions For a Knocked Out Tooth

The following steps should be taken in the case of a knocked out tooth for the best chance of saving it: 

  • Baby Tooth or Permanent Tooth? The first step depends on whether the knocked out tooth is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. If it is a baby tooth, do not put it back in the socket. Save the tooth in a cup of milk and call your dentist. If it is a permanent tooth, call your dentist first and then follow the next steps. 
  • Rinse off the tooth. Pick up the tooth by the crown only without touching the roots. Rinse off the tooth in water or milk. Plug the drain of your sink first to avoid accidentally dropping the tooth down the drain. 
  • Return the tooth to the socket. Put the tooth back in the socket in the correct position if possible. If not, store the tooth in milk and take it with you to your dentist’s office. 
  • Bite down on some sterile gauze. If you are successful at placing the tooth back in the socket, bite down on some sterile gauze to hold the tooth in place and to stop any bleeding. If you are not able to get the tooth back in the socket, bite down on some sterile gauze if you experience any bleeding. 
  • Go to your dentist’s office for treatment. As soon as possible after contacting your dentist, head to the dental office. The sooner a knocked out tooth can be put back in place, the better the chances that it can be saved. 

How Long Can a Tooth Remain Out of the Socket? 

The best chance of saving a knocked out tooth is within 30 minutes of the incident. In some cases a tooth may be able to last for 60 minutes out of the mouth, but only if it is stored in milk during that time. 

Why Can’t a Baby Tooth Be Put Back in the Socket? 

In most cases a baby tooth should not be put back in the socket because it can cause damage to the permanent tooth underneath it. Until your dentist can assess the situation, the tooth should be stored in milk. A space maintainer may need to be used to hold the space open until the permanent tooth is ready to come in.  

What Happens If a Permanent Tooth Can’t Be Saved?

If the tooth is too damaged or has been out of the mouth too long to be saved, the best option is to replace the tooth with a bridge or dental implant. Leaving a gap in your mouth allows the other teeth to shift out of place and may result in misaligned teeth or gaps between your teeth. 

Who Should I Call for a Dental Emergency? 

If you or your child experience a dental emergency, the best thing to do is call your general dentist. Emerson Dental provides emergency dental care for new and existing patients. Even if you’ve never been to our office before, we are happy to help in an emergency. Please bring your dental insurance information with you. 


In case of a dental emergency, call 978-399-0017 for our Westford Location or 781-394-9213 for our Bedford location. After hours please follow the instructions provided to leave a voicemail and someone will contact you shortly. 

If the emergency becomes life threatening, please call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency department.