It might seem remarkable that a broken tooth can be reattached, but as long as it has been knocked out by an injury (as opposed to slowly decaying due to periodontal disease), this is precisely what can be done. Provided you store the broken tooth properly and seek emergency dental treatment as soon as is humanly possible, there's a good chance of success. Of course, there is the small matter of safely keeping the tooth on hand for reattachment. Depending on how it was lost, you might encounter the annoying issue of having swallowed the tooth. But how could this actually happen? And what can you do if it in fact happens?

How It Could Happen

Losing a tooth through a blunt force injury (a blow to your mouth) can result in an immediate, accidental swallowing of the tooth. You might have located the tooth that has been knocked out, carefully rinsed it off (taking care to put the plug in the sink so that you don't lose the tooth down the drain) before storing it in your cheek to regulate its temperature and protect its root cells. In this instance, it could also be rather easy to accidentally swallow the tooth.

Immediate Action

You will need to act quickly in order to recover the tooth. It might not sound like a pleasant task, but recovery is in your best interest. Reattachment of the original tooth is perhaps preferable to the high cost of having a dental implant fitted to replace the missing tooth. Induce vomiting, and do so over a bucket or a sink with the plug firmly in place (again, so you don't lose the tooth down the drain). As time is of the essence, you might simply wish to use your finger. Ensure that your hands have been washed, and gently insert an index finger into your throat until your gag reflex is activated. Vomiting should be immediate. You can also use any type of emetic you might have on hand. These are over the counter products designed to induce vomiting.

The Next Step

Once the tooth has been recovered, rinse it thoroughly (again, please be very careful not to lose it down the drain) and immediately make your way to an emergency dentist. If you are unable to vomit up the tooth, then the dentist will talk you through your other options. Don't be concerned if it has in fact been swallowed as its size is unlikely to cause any damage to your digestive system. Of course, consult your doctor if you should have any concerns.

Having a tooth knocked out can be highly unpleasant, and then swallowing the tooth can make the whole situation worse. With a bit of quick action you should hopefully be able to recover the tooth and have it reattached.