A popular children’s dentist on TikTok went viral after sharing a largely unknown tip: If one of your teeth gets knocked out, the best course of action is to put it right back in.
Lisa Bienstock (@doctorb.thatsme), who is reportedly a dentist in Arizona, explains this while retelling a story about one of her patients. The video has over 7 million views.
In the video, she explains she received a call from a parent of a child who was injured at a birthday party. She says someone lost control of a bat while swinging a piñata, and the loose bat knocked out six of the child’s front teeth, with four of them being adult teeth.
She says that when the parents called an emergency medical technician, they failed to inform them that the teeth must be placed back in the mouth within 60 minutes. Otherwise, there is a very low likelihood that the teeth will be able to be saved, and the child will have to get implants later in life.
“If your kids’ teeth in the front are knocked out, and they’re permanent teeth, they’re adult teeth, please put them back in the socket,” Bienstock shares. “Even if it’s the wrong way, just get them back in there, and then call your pediatric dentist.
In another video, Bienstock explains why this is the best thing to do.
“So the tooth is alive, and there’s a blood supply where nerves and blood vessels flow through. It’s called the ‘pulp,’ and that’s in the root of the tooth as well,” she starts. “When a tooth is out of the mouth, and if it’s out of the mouth longer than 60 minutes, that blood supply will die and the tooth will not be vital.”
“If you re-implant the tooth into the mouth, the nerves and the blood supply can remain vital and reintegrate and flow, and the tooth ends up being okay,” Bienstock concludes.
In a third video, she details the proper process for re-implanting a tooth.
In short, she says to rinse off the root with sterile saline or, if none is available, clean water (do not scrub it). Then, holding the crown, place it back into the socket. One, she says, can use a paper towel to bite down on to keep it in place.
If this is not possible, storing the tooth in the mouth, or in milk, are viable options so long as one quickly seeks professional care, she adds.
Re-implanting an adult tooth after it gets knocked out could save it from permanent removal. However, if the tooth is a baby tooth, it’s better to simply leave it knocked out.
As the Cleveland Clinic details on its website, “If the tooth is replaced into the socket within five minutes of being knocked out, it is likely the tooth can survive. Between five and 60 minutes, there continues to be a good survival rate as long as the tooth has been stored properly. If the tooth is out of the mouth for more than 60 minutes, the chance for survival decreases significantly.”
In comments, TikTokers were shocked by this revelation.
“I definitely would never have thought to do this,” one user wrote. “Thank you for sharing!”
“You just solved one of my reoccurring nightmares,” another added.
Many were concerned that doing this would be painful.
“My entire mouth is ready to crawl out of my face and I’m ready to let it,” a TikToker stated. “Thinking about all this makes my pulp hurt.”
However, some commenters shared that it might not be as painful as it sounds.
“I put my son’s front tooth back in immediately after it was knocked out,” one commenter recalled. “It wasn’t painful to him at the time.”
Some TikTokers said that dentists should inform patients about this in case of future incidents.
“Dentists should mention to parents when they bring their kids in for cleanings so it’s more common knowledge… plus how to save and set the teeth,” a commenter wrote.
In the comments, Bienstock agreed.
“Knowledge is power! If you didn’t have this info and you didn’t know what to do IF this happened that would be scary. But you can feel comfort knowing that you know what to do in the scenario,” she says. “We hope you never have to use it!“
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*First Published: Apr 16, 2022, 8:51 am CDT
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine, and more.