Controlling Bleeding After Knocking Out a Tooth

Time is of the essence when a tooth has been knocked out. If you move quickly, you stand a chance of saving the tooth, as an emergency dentist might be able reposition it back in its socket. The tooth needs to be carefully handled, picked up only by its crown, and either put back into its socket, held firmly in your cheek or stored in milk. There is a better chance of saving the tooth if you receive treatment within 30 minutes of the accident, so you will need to see a dentist immediately.

Having a tooth knocked out can result in significant bleeding. This bleeding needs to be managed, as excessive bleeding can prevent you from being able to hold the tooth in its socket (while biting down gently to keep it in position) as you quickly make your way to the emergency dentist. What are some key ways to control bleeding in the immediate aftermath of having a tooth knocked out?

Absorbing the Blood

Avoid using wadded toilet paper or kitchen towel. This might seem like a logical way of absorbing the blood, and yet the fibrous nature of these types of paper (plus the fact that they can break down with moisture) means that remnants of the paper might be left behind in the wound when the wadded paper is removed. So what can you use to control bleeding?

  • Medicated gauze (which is sterile) can be cut to size and gently held over the bleeding socket by biting down gently.

  • A lukewarm black tea bag can also assist with controlling oral bleeding, but be cautious not to bite down so hard so that the paper bag breaks

  • It has been found that a hemostatic tampon (filled with wadded cellulose fibres) can control bleeding.

Wash your hands thoroughly before placing anything into your injured mouth so that you don't introduce additional bacteria.

Additional Considerations

Should you need to rinse your mouth, do not use a mouthwash, even though an antiseptic agent might feel beneficial at this time. It will irritate your injury, so should be avoided. Use plain water or a salt water rinse. Gently swirl the liquid in your mouth so that you don't exacerbate the wound. If the site begins to swell, apply an ice pack or cold compress to the exterior of your jaw at the site of the injury.

Remember that time truly is of the essence, so make sure that you promptly control your bleeding and make your way to an emergency dentist.