What Should I Do If I Knock My Tooth Out?
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More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year among children and adults. Dentists refer to a knocked-out tooth as an “avulsed” tooth. If you lose a tooth due to an accident or injury, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s lost for good. Taking the right action and getting proper emergency care can save the tooth so that it can be replanted successfully and last for years to come. We take a look at what you should do if a tooth is knocked out and how it can be salvaged.
When a tooth has been knocked out, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged, too. The nerves and blood vessels can’t be repaired, which is why all avulsed teeth will need a root canal. However, the bone can reattach to the root of the tooth once it’s put back into place. The odds of saving a tooth are highest in young children, but adult teeth can be saved as well. Only permanent teeth should be re-implanted. It is important to get to the dentist as quickly as possible after a tooth has been knocked out. It is also critical to avoid damaging the tooth even more. Follow these suggestions to improve the chances of saving your tooth:
- Handle the tooth carefully. Try not to touch the root (the part of the tooth that was under the gum). It can be damaged easily.
- If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the upper part (the crown) and rinse it with milk. If you don’t have any milk, rinse it with water. Don’t wipe it off with a washcloth, shirt or other fabric. This could damage the tooth.
- Keep the tooth moist. Drop it into a glass of milk. If you can’t do this, place the tooth in your mouth, between the cheek and gum. A young child may not be able to safely “store” the tooth in his or her mouth without swallowing it. Instead, have the child spit into a cup. Place the tooth in the cup with the saliva. If nothing else is available, place the tooth in a cup of water. The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist.
- Try slipping the tooth back into its socket. In many cases, it will slip right in. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Don’t try to force it into the socket. If it doesn’t go back into place easily and without pressure, then just keep it moist (in milk, saliva or water) and get to the dentist as soon as you can.
If the tooth is intact (not broken in pieces), it is always a good idea to try to save it.
A Knocked-Out Tooth
If you knock out a tooth, you should:
- find the tooth
- hold it by the crown (the white bit that sticks out of the gum)
- lick the tooth clean if it’s dirty, or rinse it in water
- put it back into position (adult teeth only); never try to re-insert a baby tooth (see below)
- bite on a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place
- go to see a dentist as an emergency
If you can’t put the tooth back in position, put it in milk and see a dentist straight away.
The sooner a knocked-out tooth is re-implanted, the more likely it is to embed itself back into the gum.
If your child knocks out a baby tooth, you shouldn’t try to re-implant it because you may damage the adult tooth growing underneath. Take your child to see a dentist immediately.
Act Quickly, Within 30 Minutes, And Visit The Nearest Dentist Or Endodontist.
Review and remember these tooth-saving steps that take you and your tooth from the time it falls out until you reach medical support:
Locate the tooth immediately; don’t leave it at the site of the accident. Handle the tooth carefully when you pick it up, and never touch the tooth’s root, only the crown (chewing surface).
Use only water to gently rinse off any dirt. Do not use soap or chemicals. Don’t scrub or dry the tooth, and don’t wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
Try to put the tooth back into its socket right away. Gently push it in with your fingers by handling the crown, or position it above the socket and close your mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or by gently biting down on it.
The tooth must stay moist at all times, either in your mouth or, if it can’t be replaced in the socket, put it in milk, in your mouth next to your cheek, or in an emergency tooth preservation kit (such as Save-a-Tooth®). Don’t use regular tap water; root surface cells can’t tolerate that for extended periods.
Bring the tooth with you to your emergency appointment ideally. It’s best to see the doctor within 30 minutes; however, it is possible to save a tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.
Thank you for reading this article, and check back frequently for other dental health articles. Should you have any questions, please contact Apple Tree Dental today!
Article Compiled by Apple Tree Dental.
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