Oral health resources

Knocked out or broken teeth


If permanent teeth are knocked out, there is an excellent chance that they will survive if they are immediately placed back in the tooth socket and dental health advice is sought straight away. Every minute the tooth is out of the socket, the less chance it has of surviving.

Adult tooth knocked out - what should I do?
Knocked out tooth how to pick tooth up
Replacing knocked out tooth
Who to call for dental emergencies

If the knocked out tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with milk without touching the root and follow the steps below. Do not scrub.

  1. Stay calm and act quickly.

  2. Locate the tooth and hold it by the crown (smooth white part).

  3. If the root has dirt on it, gently rinse the tooth in milk or saline solution such as contact lens solution for a few seconds only - do not use water or scrub.

  4. If the person is conscious, hold the cleaned tooth by the crown and replace it into its socket using light pressure.

  5. Hold the tooth in place by getting the person to gently bite on a handkerchief.

  6. Seek immediate advice or treatment from an oral health professional (see Emergency dental care).


If you can't replace the tooth:

  • Do not let it become dry and do not use tap water.
  • Place the tooth in milk or saliva (preferably the patient's).
  • Seal it in plastic wrap.
  • Seek immediate advice or treatment from an oral health professional. (For public dental emergency care call: 1300 360 054 or go to our Emergency dental care page).

Knocked out baby tooth - what should you do?

Do not try to put a baby tooth back in its socket because:

  • It may fuse to the socket, which leads to difficulties when it is time for the tooth to be shed.
  • It may damage the permanent tooth underneath the socket.

Contact an oral health professional. To find a community dental clinic near you, go to community dental clinics or call 1300 360 054


Broken or fractured tooth - What should you do?

Cracked or fractured teeth may or may not be painful. It is recommended that you see an oral health professional, as early recognition can improve the survival of the damaged tooth.

  1. If the tooth fragment is broken and is intact, store it in milk or saliva (preferably the patient's). 
  2. Seal it in plastic wrap.
  3. See an oral health professional as soon as possible.


Related information:

Emergency dental care
Mouthguards - which mouthguard offers the best protection?