To improve the chances of the tooth being saved, Santa Clara Dental suggests doing the following:
- Handle the tooth carefully. Avoid touching the root of the tooth (the part of the tooth that was embedded in the gum).
- If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the upper part (the crown) and rinse it off with milk or contact lens solution until most of the dirt is washed away. If you don't have either of those available, then it is best to leave the tooth alone. Wiping it off with a handkerchief or your shirt may cause additional damage to the microscopic cells still on the root surface.
- It is important to keep the tooth moist. If possible, drop it into a glass of milk. If no milk is available, then place the tooth in the mouth between the cheek and gum.
- A young child who has had a tooth knocked out may not be able to safely "store" the tooth in his or her mouth without swallowing it, so don't give the tooth to a young child for safe-keeping in his or her mouth. Place the tooth in milk or have the child spit into a container and place the tooth in the cup with the saliva. The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist. Use a cup of water if nothing else is available.
- Come see us as quickly as possible. If getting to the office immediately after a tooth has been knocked out is impossible, then you may want to try slipping the tooth back into its socket. In many cases, it will slip right in. Make sure it's facing the right way. Don't try to force it into the socket. If it doesn't go back into place easily and without pressure, then it is better just to hold it between the cheek and gum or to keep it in milk, saliva or water.
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