What to Do if You’ve Lost a Tooth

Hockey players

Ice hockey players aren’t the only ones known to lose some teeth.

Ice hockey players aren’t the only ones who lose teeth prematurely. Unfortunately millions of people every year find this out the hard way as they’re put in a similar situation where they need to save a knocked-out tooth. The good news is that if you remain calm, act swiftly, and follow the steps below, you’ll be well on your way to saving that tooth.

The most helpful tips actually turn out to be avoiding things we’ve found people commonly do that they shouldn’t.


  • Do not handle the tooth by the root.
  • Do not scrub, brush, clean, dry, use soap or alcohol on the missing tooth.
  • Do not delay visiting your dentist!

In addition to avoiding the common problems listed above, follow these steps to increase the likelihood of saving your tooth.

  1. Find the tooth and handle it only by the crown (the chewing edge).
  2. Rinse with a sterile saline solution, milk, or saliva.
  3. Although it may be difficult to think about, reposition the tooth back in the socket immediately if possible. Carefully push it into place and close the mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place by gently biting down, using gauze, or a clean washcloth. If you can’t get it back in place, put it in a glass of milk, a sterile saline solution, or back in the mouth next to your cheek to keep the tooth moist.
  4. Get to a dentist’s office right away. Most offices, like ours, will have an emergency number you can call in these situations.

For situations where your child has lost a baby tooth that wasn’t quite ready yet, a rinse with cold water and call to your child’s pediatric dentist is in order. There is no saving baby teeth, but the dentist will be able to provide pain relievers, antibiotics, and if necessary a spacer to keep other teeth from crowding the new gap.

We hope you never need this advice, but it is invaluable in the unfortunate situation of a knocked-out tooth. We want you to be able to enjoy a healthy smile, no matter what speed bumps you may run into along the way!