Skip To Content

    Parents Are Just Now Learning They Should Put Their Kids' Teeth Back In Their Sockets To Save Them If They Get Knocked Out — Here's Why

    Even if you put the teeth in the wrong way, just get them back in.

    Dr. Lisa Bienstock is a Phoenix-based board-certified dentist who has been practicing pediatric dentistry for 15 years.

    And Dr. Bienstock recently caught the attention of over 9 million people after she made this TikTok urging parents to put their kids' teeth back in if they ever get knocked out.

    To get more information, BuzzFeed spoke to Dr. Bienstock, who said that if an adult tooth — NOT a baby tooth — gets knocked out of the socket, no matter what age, you must reinsert it back into its original socket within 60 minutes for the tooth to successfully last. "Once the tooth is back in its original position, the dentist will place a flexible splint — which looks like braces — to keep the tooth in place. Think of it like a cast," she explained.

    Dr. Bienstock said, "The splint stays on for four weeks while the nerves and blood vessels reintegrate with the body. Basically, during the four weeks, the root of the tooth begins to extend into the bone. The root contains blood vessels and nerves, which supply blood and sensations to the whole tooth. This area is known as the 'pulp' of the tooth. Many times, the tooth will survive because the pulp is able to reintegrate. Sometimes, however, after major trauma, the pulp will die, and the tooth might need a root canal. But the root canal basically 'mummifies' the tooth, so the tooth just stays in its place for function and aesthetics without sensation."

    So, we asked Dr. Bienstock to break down the exact steps of what you should do if your (or your kid's) permanent tooth gets knocked out. Take notes...

    First, Dr. Bienstock said it is crucial to pick the tooth up by the crown (the chewing surface) NOT the root. "Locate the tooth immediately; don't leave it at the site of the accident. Handle the tooth carefully when you pick it up, and never touch the root of the tooth, only the crown."

    A man holding a lost tooth on the top and bottom of the tooth, with a message saying "Do not hold it like this!"

    Next, if the tooth is dirty, rinse it with clean water. "Use only water to gently rinse off any dirt. Do not use soap or chemicals. Don’t scrub or dry the tooth, and don’t wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth."

    After those two steps are complete, immediately try to place and reposition the tooth in the socket. "Gently push it in with your fingers, by handling the crown, or position it above the socket and close your mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or by gently biting down on it with a cloth or paper towel," she explained.

    Dr. Bienstock said that if you can't get the tooth back in the socket, it needs to stay wet to be saved. You can do this by placing it in the person's cheek, putting it in milk, or using an emergency tooth preservation kit like Save-a-Tooth. "While using tap water is better than nothing, the tooth root surface cells can’t tolerate that for extended periods of time, so milk is better. But keeping a tooth in tap water is better than it being dry outside of the mouth, so use it if nothing else is available."

    Lastly, see a dentist ASAP. "If you can, within 60 minutes of the injury. Coming to the emergency appointment with the tooth replaced in the socket already is ideal. However, if you have not replaced it, always bring the tooth with you. The sooner you can see a trained professional, the better. And it may be possible to save a tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for up to 60 minutes," she added.

    Every year, over 5 million children and adults get their teeth knocked out! So, you may need this info one day — and a reminder that this is for ADULT teeth that are knocked out, NOT baby teeth.

    Special thanks to Dr. Bienstock for sharing this important information. You can follow her for more dental-related advice on TikTok and Instagram.