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Do you know what to do with a knocked-out tooth? Whether the cause is sports, an accident, or assault, it is important to know what to do and when to do it. Injuring a tooth is never fun, but the good news is that some teeth can be reinserted into the tooth socket if you keep the ligament alive. Though the best choice is to get to your dentist as soon as possible, there are some important tips to know along the way.

Handle the Tooth Gently

When a tooth is severed from its socket, the ligament attached is destroyed. In order to properly survive, the tooth needs all the tiny nerve fibers to remain attached. First, carefully pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root. Gently wipe any excess dirt from the tooth and either set it back into the socket or hold it between your cheek and gums in your mouth as you are heading for emergency help, hopefully within 15 to 30 minutes. Bathing the tooth in your own saliva will help keep it alive.

If the tooth cannot be placed in the person’s mouth, the next best thing to place it in cold, whole milk.

Teeth Lost to Disease Can’t Be Saved

A tooth lost due to an accident has a 90 percent chance of being saved if proper procedure is followed, but for one lost due to periodontal disease, none of these measures will help. The lesson here is to make sure you see your dentist for regular checkups, and if you show signs of gum disease, make sure to seek treatment.