Dental News

Save a Knocked-Out Tooth

Reported July 14, 2003

NEW ORLEANS (Ivanhoe Newswire) — We all lose our baby teeth at one point or another. That’s natural. It’s a whole other matter when a permanent tooth is knocked out. Would you know what to do in that case?

Courtland Rhodes is back in business after a scary fall off his friend’s bicycle. “She hit a bump, and we half way flipped over, and I knocked my tooth on the concrete,” Courtland tells Ivanhoe. His permanent front tooth, root and all, was knocked out. It was put into a glass of milk, and he was rushed to the dentist.

“Milk basically provides the nutrients that the root cells need to stay healthy until the tooth is replaced back into the mouth,” says pediatric dentist Clifton Dummett, Jr., D.D.S., of the LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans.

With kids, accidents happen off and on the playing field. For contact sports dentists recommend custom fit mouth guards.  If a tooth is knocked out, hold it by the crown, not the root.

“This is the area that contains the cells that will allow the tooth to be reattached into the socket,” Dummett says.

If milk isn’t available, drop the tooth in water or saliva. If you get to the dentist within the first hour, there’s about a 65 percent chance of saving it.

Amybeth Harmon, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist at Pleasant Hill Dentistry in Pleasant Hill, California, says, “Usually, if it’s out for more than an hour, the probability of success decreases dramatically.”

These days, Courtland rides solo on his bike and still has his winning smile. His father, Michael, says, “Courtland can smile a lot better now, and he’s happy that he has his tooth back in his mouth.”

Dentists say the odds of reimplanting a tooth diminish with each passing hour. So if you lose your tooth on a Friday, don’t wait until Monday to call your dentist.

For more information, please contact:

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry