Even with diligent oral health care, we can suffer an accident that may seriously harm our smiles. A blow to the face or an ill-timed bite can generate enough pressure, for instance, to cause a tooth to fall out.
If you lose one or more teeth this way, you have a small window of time in which you can replace them back in the mouth. You will need to seek prompt attention from your dentist in order to successfully restore the tooth to your smile.
Knowing what to do in the event of this dental emergency can help you react better if this scenario arises. So read on to discover steps you should take urgently if you want to save a knocked-out tooth.
Preserve the Lost Tooth
When you knock out a tooth, you should take action to preserve it as soon as you can. Without access to the blood vessels in its socket, the tooth can start to deteriorate quickly. Make sure you locate and handle the tooth carefully by its crown, not its root.
The root contains sensitive nerves that can sustain further damage if mishandled. If the tooth is dirty from touching the ground, do not rub at it with a cloth or other material or you could risk hurting it. Gently rinse it with milk or water instead.
Saliva will keep the tooth moist, the best way to preserve it. If you can, carefully place the tooth back in its socket. Do not force it into place though. Tuck it into your cheek if the socket is too painful or not feasible.
If you worry about swallowing the tooth, you can store it in a cup submerged in spit instead. You might use milk or water instead to protect the tooth. Milk works better than water because milk contains nutrients that will better keep the tooth preserved.
Visit Your Dentist for Emergency Treatment
Time is of the essence if you want to save a knocked-out tooth. Call your dentist right away if you lose one or more of your teeth. Or head straight to your dentist’s office for urgent treatment.
Ideally, you should seek dental care for the lost tooth within half an hour of the accident. Do not forget to bring the tooth with you to the dentist’s office. The dentist will examine the tooth, the socket, and the surrounding areas in your mouth for signs of additional damage.
Then the dentist will place the tooth gently back into the socket. They will use a splint to keep it in place. Over the next few days, the tooth will reattach itself.
If the tooth fractured or suffered other harm, it may take longer for the tooth to fully heal and reattach. If for some reason, the dentist cannot replace this tooth, you can discuss restorative dental solutions. Ask your dentist if you qualify for dental implants that can replace missing teeth.