Safety and first aid

Dental injury – knocked out tooth

  • If your or another person's tooth has been knocked out, it is important to seek dental help immediately.
  • Adult teeth should be put back in the socket straight away.
  • Baby teeth should not be put back into the socket as it may cause injury to the underlying adult tooth.


  1. keep calm and find the tooth
  2. pick up the tooth by the crown (whiter part) and avoid touching the root
  3. if the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk – if milk is not available, rinse for a few seconds under cold tap water, (not in antiseptic)
  4. put the tooth back into the socket in the person's mouth using the other teeth as a guide
  5. to keep the tooth in place either bite on a cloth or use finger pressure
  6. aluminum foil can also be used to help stabilise the tooth.

If unable to place the tooth back into its socket, keep the tooth moist with one of these alternatives:

  • place tooth in person's mouth between the cheek and gums


  • put tooth in a glass of milk fully covered


  • cover the tooth with the person's saliva and put in plastic wrap.

Do not:

  • store the tooth in water
  • hold or rub the root surface or let the tooth dry, as the living cell lining the root of the tooth could become damaged and die
  • put the tooth on ice
  • remove any tissue or gum fragments from the tooth
  • delay seeking dental care – teeth replanted within 30 minutes have the best chance of surviving. If possible have someone phone ahead to alert the dentist.
  • replant a baby tooth due to risk of injury to the underlying adult tooth. If in doubt place the tooth in milk and seek dental advice.

Note: It is a good idea to keep long-life milk in a first aid kit.


Dental Health Services

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