University of Iowa Health Science Relations and
Stephen Goepferd, DDS, MS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
First Published: 2000
Last Revised: December 2004
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
When a child's permanent tooth is knocked out, the best response
is to immediately put the tooth back in its place, says a University
of Iowa pediatric dentist.
"Your first concern may be the bleeding, but you should also give
equal attention to preserving the tooth itself," says Dr. Stephen
Goepferd, a specialist in children's dentistry in the UI College of
Have the child bite on a clean cloth to help minimize the
bleeding, and then look for the tooth, Goepferd says.
When the tooth is found, it is important to handle it only by the
crown and not at the root end. Gently rinse off any debris under tap
water, trying not to touch the roots, he suggests.
Then call your dentist. Time is a key factor. "Greater success in
saving the tooth occurs if it is put back in place within 30
minutes," Goepferd says. The longer the tooth is out of the mouth,
the less likelihood for success, he adds.
If you can't place the tooth immediately back into its natural
environment in the mouth, keep it moist while on your way to the
dentist's office, Goepferd says. This can be done by putting the
tooth in a glass of milk.
The UI dentistry professor adds that children who participate in
organized sports can lessen the likelihood of injuring their teeth by
wearing a mouthguard.