Tag Archives: Avulsed tooth

Straight, No Chaser: What To Do If Your Tooth Comes Out


There’s nothing pleasant about having a tooth fall out of your mouth (aka avulsed tooth, dislocated tooth). Whether from trauma (e.g. a punch or other facial injury, a fall) or dental disease (e.g. gum or tooth disease), there are cosmetic and practical concerns with not having teeth in your mouth. Additionally, there’s no tooth fairy for adults.


The question in real time is “My tooth just fell out. What should I do?” The answer depends on your age and health; the tooth might be able to be placed back into your socket. Today’s Straight, No Chaser gives you tips on how to increase the chances that replantation will be successful.
Which teeth are eligible? Baby teeth (those in children age eight and younger) are usually not replaced. Usually adult teeth can be replanted if appropriately handled.


What can I do?
Follow these steps:

  • Act promptly. You’re losing 1% probability that replantation will be successful with each passing minute.
  • If possible, get to a dentist. If you can’t reach a dentist, get to the closest emergency room.


  • Only hold the tooth by its chewing edge (the crown) as shown in the picture, not by the other end (the root). Holding it by the root will damage the ligaments needed to make connections between the tooth and the mouth. Do not brush, clean or scrape the tooth off in an effort to remove dirt, especially at the root. Do not apply alcohol or any other abrasive solution (e.g. peroxide).
  • If it can be done safely, placing the tooth back in the socket from which it came is the right thing to do. If you do this, it needs to be level with other teeth, and you must be positive that you aren’t in a situation that might lead to you swallowing it. This can be facilitated by place a piece of gauze or a tea bag on top of the tooth, biting down and keeping your mouth closed during the trip.


  • If you have a small container, you can place the tooth in it. Then cover the tooth with a small amount of saliva or whole milk, and put this container in another container that has ice in it. Do not place an avulsed tooth directly on ice.
  • Alternatively you can just place the tooth directly into a small cup of milk or saliva.
  • As still another option, there are actually commercially available tooth-saving storage devices set up for this purpose.
  • If you don’t have a container, your best bet is to carry the tooth in your mouth, keeping it under your tongue or between your lower lips and gum. The same precautions about swallowing the tooth still apply here.

How do I prevent losing a tooth?

  • Avoid fights. It’s not worth losing a tooth.
  • When playing any contact sport, wear a mouth guard. They work.
  • Avoid chewing on bones, stale bread tough bagels and other hard foods, especially if you’re older or have either gum or dental disease.
  • Wear a seatbelt.

There is a fair to pretty good chance your avulsed tooth is accompanied by damaged nerves or a fractured jaw. The force required to traumatically dislodge a tooth is significant. Get seen ASAP if this happens, especially if you’re bleeding, can’t close your jaw or if you became unconscious.

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Straight, No Chaser: Trauma Quick Tips and The Week In Review

cch trauma
This week in Straight, No Chaser, we reviewed multiple topics related to Trauma, the #1 cause of death between ages 1-44.  Here’s the Week In Review and featured Quick Tips.
1)   Over the weekend, we started with discussions of Amputations of Permanent Teeth and Fingers.

  1. Remember, you lose 1% viability per minute for a dislodged tooth.  Get help quick!  https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/07/27/straight-no-chaser-saturday-quick-tips-the-tooth-of-the-matter-is/
  2. The transport of displaced fingers and teeth is vital to successful reimplantation.  Never place them directly on ice!  https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/07/28/sunday-quick-tips-give-me-the-finger/

2)   On Monday, we talked about Motor Vehicle Crashes.

  1. Avoiding distracted driving is the most important factor in preventing crashes.
  2. Wearing your seat beat is the most important factor in surviving crashes.
  3. The middle back seat (while wearing a seat belt) is the safest place in the car.

3)   On Tuesday, we reviewed Traumatic Brain Injuries/Concussions.

  1. Dr. Flippen, a neurologist from UCLA, reminded us that most patients will recover but never as fast as they wish.
  2. After a head injury, expect not to be released back to sporting activity for at least two weeks.

4)   On Wednesday, we reviewed Mass Disasters and talked about the importance of an Emergency Kit.

  1. Remember to have access to 1 gallon per day per person, half for drinking and half for cooking/hygiene.

5)   On Wednesday, we also discussed Dog, Cat and Shark Bites.

  1. Cat scratches are also a major infection risk and should be evaluated.
  2. Who’d have thought sharks were nibbling you out of curiosity instead of biting you out of hunger?

6)   On Thursday, we reviewed Penetrating Trauma (Gunshot and Stab Wounds)https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/08/01/straight-no-chaser-gunshot-and-stab-wounds/

  1. Remember the ‘Golden Hour’ of Trauma and get seen as soon as possible after being stabbed or shot, just as soon as you ensure your safety.
  2. It is very important to avoid worsening possible spinal injuries by excessive movement.

7)   On Friday, we reviewed Residential Fires and its associated trauma.

  1. In Part I, we emphasized the importance of installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, having an escape plan and not sticking around to fight the fire.   https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/08/02/straight-no-chaser-the-roof-is-on-fire-the-trauma-of-residential-fires/
  2. In Part II, we discussed treatment of possible injuries that may occur.  https://jeffreysterlingmd.com/2013/08/02/straight-no-chaser-your-questions-on-treatment-of-fire-related-injuries/
  3. Remember if any head or neck injuries exist, try your best not to move.
  4. Remember that if you’re feeling like you have the flu after being exposed to a fire, it could be carbon monoxide poisoning!

8)   On Saturday, we reviewed Snakebites.

  1. We debunked the myth about sucking venom out of snakebite wounds.  Don’t do it!

9)   Saturday, we also reviewed Elderly Falls.

  1. We identified head injuries/bleeds, lacerations and hip fractures as injuries to guard against.
  2. We discussed the importance of home improvements, diet, exercise and checking for osteoporosis and vision checking for maintainance of health.