EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Would you know what to do if you had a tooth knocked out? The vast majority of us don’t know the right steps to save the tooth.

Kingston Dentist of General and Cosmetic Dentistry Doctor Loren Grossman demonstrates to one of his office workers what a typical oral exam looks like.

But something he’s often done for real treats a patient who had a tooth knocked out. Recently, he says, that patient was a Wilkes University wrestler who was in the good hands of the wrestling staff.

“Those people know exactly what to do because they’ve been trained to do it,” Dr. Grossman said.

But the American Association of Endodontists says more than 90% of U.S. adults do not have a clue, which is unfortunate given how many times tooth loss happens.

“We’re seeing about five million teeth a year actually being knocked out,” stated Doctor Stefan Zweig, President of the American Association of Endodontists.

Doctor Zweig says to start by picking up the tooth by the white part, or crown, and avoid touching the root. Then you want to make sure the tooth is clean.

“And the way you’ll do that is by gently rinsing it with either milk or water. And then the next thing you want to do is actually replace the tooth into the socket from where it came,” Dr. Zweig explained.

Make sure it is stabilized, and there is one last thing to consider: remember you are on the clock.

“The key is time. More than 30 minutes, it’s less successful. Within that 30-minute time frame, could be very successful,” stated Dr. Grossman.

That’s what happened in the case of the Wilkes University wrestler who Dr. Grossman treated.

“We had to implant two teeth and splint it and it turned out to be very successful,” said Dr. Grossman.

Dentists recommend wearing mouthguards during sports, or even activities like bike riding and skateboarding to help prevent possible tooth loss.