Everyone fears having a tooth knocked out, but it’s a reality for over 5 million people each year. If you’re one of the unlucky few who experience losing a tooth, don’t panic! Not all lost teeth are gone for good. It’s best to pop your tooth back into its socket and head to the closest emergency dentist. Here’s what you should do to improve your tooth’s chance of survival.
Knocked-Out Teeth Can Be Saved
Believe it or not, not all knocked-out teeth are lost permanently. If your tooth is in one piece and relatively undamaged, your dentist might be able to save it. However, the odds are influenced by the steps you take within the next 30 minutes.
Steps to Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth
If a tooth is displaced, time is of the utmost importance. Here are 4 things you need to do right away:
- Find and Rinse Your Tooth: Pick your tooth up by the crown and avoid touching the root. Carefully rinse it with cool water. Don’t use any soaps or chemicals. Do not dry your tooth because it must be kept moist.
- Reinsert Your Tooth: While holding your tooth by the crown, position it back into its sockets and bite on a piece of gauze to hold it in place.
- Preserve Your Tooth: If you’re not successful in inserting your tooth, you must preserve it. A dental saline solution is best, but if you don’t have any, place it in a cup of milk. Avoid storing it in water because it can damage your root cells. Don’t tuck it in your mouth next to your cheek because you may swallow it accidentally.
- Get to a Dentist ASAP: Even if you get your tooth in place, get to an emergency dentist. The chance of your tooth surviving decreases after 30 minutes.
Treating Knocked-Out Teeth
Your emergency dentist will get you into the office quickly and address any pain. They’ll examine your mouth and review X-rays to determine an appropriate treatment.
Often, a knocked-out tooth can be treated with a dental split. A thin wire is bonded to the adjacent teeth to stabilize your tooth. It is removed after your ligaments, soft tissues, and bone have healed.
If your tooth can’t be saved, your dentist will discuss your replacement options, like a dental implant. They will provide the compassionate care you need to make a stressful situation easier.
About Dr. Peter A. Pate
Dr. Pate earned his dental degree from the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry and has regularly continued his training to provide up-to-date services. He is affiliated with many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you need a dentist in a hurry, request an appointment through his website or call (404) 266-9424.