Abstract The prognosis of replanted avulsed permanent incisors depends largely on prompt and appropriate emergency management. The aim of this study was to investigate lay knowledge and attitudes in this respect. Postal questionnaires were sent to all physical education teachers, school nurses and secretaries, attendants in swimming baths and leisure centres and to 220 parents of teenage children in a defined area of North West England. The overall questionnaire response rate was 86.9%. Knowledge of methods of dealing with this problem was generally inadequate in both parents and the other groups. Although 53.6% of respondents claimed to have received first aid training only 3.1% could remember dental injuries being included. There was evidence that dental health education in this field can be effective, since the highest mean knowledge score was found in the 1 1.5% of respondents who recalled receiving advice from sources such as posters, magazines and newspapers. More than 80% of the respondents stated that they would not want to replant an avulsed incisor themselves, the main reason being lack of knowledge and training. It is suggested that there is a need for potentially effective dental health education in relation to this problem.