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Accident-Related Loss of a Permanent Tooth

When a permanent tooth is lost due to an accident, receiving prompt attention is of utmost importance. The sooner the tooth is replaced and secured in its socket the greater the probability of saving the tooth. Unfortunately, success is almost unattainable if the tooth is not replaced in less than two hours.

In the event that a tooth is lost, there are some simple steps you can follow that help increase the probability of saving the tooth.

If the tooth is clean, you may try to replace it in the socket immediately. Hold it in place with light finger pressure while seeking the attention of your dentist.

If the tooth is not clean or you do not feel comfortable replacing it in its socket, the tooth should immediately be immersed in a suitable storage solution. This will help maintain the tooth’s viability.

There are several suitable storage media for teeth. The best are:

  • Milk: Skim or low fat milk is preferred
  • Isotonic saline (can be found at your pharmacy)

If one of the above is not available, there are other storage mediums, but these are not as good for long periods of storage (more than 30 minutes). However, they are preferable to allowing the tooth to dehydrate. These include:

  • Commercially available: Save-A-Tooth system
  • Saliva
  • Blood
  • Tap water

Remember, the most important thing is to seek the attention of your dentist as soon as possible.


More information is available from the following resources:

  • Academy of General Dentistry - Emergencies
  • American Dental Association - on Dental Emergencies & Injuries
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry - Dental Emergency Brochure |
  • Simple Steps - Emergencies

Back to Emergencies


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