First aid for knocked-out teeth

Sometimes accidents can result in teeth being completely knocked out.

Many teeth can be replaced after being knocked out and some will survive very well after this.

The longer the tooth is out of its socket, the less chance it has of surviving in the long term.

Photo of someone with one of their top front teeth knocked out. Knocked-out adult tooth

See your dentist as soon as you can.


  • hold the tooth by its crown (not the roots)
  • ensure there is no dirt on the root – wash briefly under clean water if necessary
  • gently push the tooth back into its socket
  • hold the tooth in place by biting gently on a piece of cloth
  • see your dentist as soon as you can.

If the tooth cannot be re-inserted into its socket:

  • store the tooth in milk until it can be replanted by the dentist
  • if milk is not readily available, store it under the lip of the injured person – taking care that they don’t swallow it by mistake
  • see your dentist as soon as you can.

Do not:

  • scrub the root of the knocked-out tooth
  • wrap the tooth in a dry tissue.

Knocked-out baby tooth

Do not try to put it back in its socket, as this may damage the adult tooth that is developing under it.

Seek advice and treatment from your dentist or your child’s dental therapist.

Call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) for your child’s nearest community oral health clinic.

Reproduced with the permission of the New Zealand Dental Association, based on the ‘Keeping Your Teeth for a Lifetime ... Easy As’ resource.

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