Getting a tooth knocked out does more than impact your self-confidence. A knocked out tooth (also referred to as an avulsed tooth) can lead to more serious dental problems down the road. Although we expect missing teeth in childhood, the rate of adults with missing teeth is higher than you might think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 120 million people in the U.S. have one or more missing teeth. Fully 36 million people have no teeth at all.

Tooth loss also discriminates geographically and racially. While the average rate of missing teeth in the U.S. is about 25%, that number climbs to 42% in some states. For example, it’s just 13% in California. Untreated tooth decay (possibly resulting in missing teeth) is higher in Hispanic and African American adults (36% and 42%, respectively) than non-Hispanic adults (22%).

Regardless of the demographics, here are some common causes of knocked out teeth and some ways to fix them.

What causes a knocked out tooth?

Even if the knocked out tooth is caused by an accident or trauma to the mouth, there are root causes that make teeth unstable in the mouth.

These include:

  1. Poor dental hygiene: Tooth decay can damage the jawbone and weaken a tooth’s grip.
  2. Smoking: Smoking causes bone thinning and weakness, especially in post-menopausal women.
  3. Bruxism: Teeth grinding and jaw clenching creates tremendous pressure and strain on the teeth over time.
  4. Avoiding the dentist: Regular check-ups can help you spot warning signs and maintain excellent dental hygiene.
  5. Untreated dental issues: Untreated tooth decay can lead to periodontal disease, which can make it easier for teeth to fall out.
  6. Genetics: Some people are prone to weak bones and poor dental condition.
  7. Root resorption: A condition called root resorption can also make teeth more susceptible to being knocked out. A common cause of root resorption is either wearing braces for an extended period or bite correction that occurs too quickly.

How do you treat a tooth knocked out?

When you get a tooth knocked out, that warrants an immediate trip to your Phoenix area emergency dentist.

The sooner you get medical care for your knocked out tooth, the better chance there is to save it and avoid more complications in the future.

Can a tooth that has been knocked out be put back in?

Once a tooth gets knocked out it begins to die immediately.

With fast action and a few important steps followed, it is possible to reattach a knocked out tooth.

What should I do immediately after?

If your tooth gets knocked out, immediate action is imperative. You need to visit your nearest emergency dentist within at least an hour of the tooth coming out. While you are waiting for your appointment, take the following steps.

Step 1: Retrieve the tooth

Pick up the tooth by the crown (not the root) and rinse gently with water only. Do not scrub or use soap.

Step 2: If possible, put it back in

Sounds crazy, but if you can, reposition the tooth in the socket and bite down gently to keep it in place while you wait for your appointment.

Step 3: Keep it moist

If you cannot reposition the tooth in your mouth, keep it moist until your appointment. Soak the tooth in milk or place it in your mouth next to your cheek. Do not soak the tooth in tap water. Another option for preserving a knocked out tooth is to use the Save-A-Tooth kit.

Step 4: Get to the dentist

Your best chance for reattaching the tooth occurs within 30 minutes of the accident, but it is possible in some cases to save the tooth for up to an hour. In Scottsdale, weekend dentists like AZ Dentist make time for these types of emergencies. Get in touch as soon as possible for the best chance of replacement.

If your dentist judges it best, they will wash the socket out thoroughly and prepare the tooth for reinsertion. They will use a splint on either side of the tooth to hold it in place. This splint may remain for several days. It usually takes about a month for the root to reattach to the bone, with the tooth l