You just lost a tooth. What do you do? What you shouldn’t do is panic or fall into despair: This is a situation that you can quickly recover from!
At Dental Specialty Associates, we have lots of experience when it comes to saving teeth in the nick of time and reuniting them with their owners. We know what you need to do to keep your teeth alive and ready for reattachment, and we know the best methods for replacing a tooth that you dislocate and possibly lose. Next time you have knocked out a tooth, don’t ask what you should do: Just read this article again and follow our steps to get your tooth back where it belongs.
Preserving Your Tooth
Don’t lose hope if you knock out a tooth. You can save it! Just because you knock a tooth out doesn’t mean you can’t successfully reattach it. The key is to act fast and to handle the detached tooth carefully.
Pick up the tooth by the crown. This is the white portion of the tooth that sticks out of the gum. The root of the tooth is delicate and can be easily damaged so avoid touching it if at all possible. Clean the water off carefully. Make sure you don’t do any of the following while cleaning the loose tooth:
- Don’t use soap or chemicals.
- Do not dry the tooth.
- Don’t wrap it in a tissue or cloth.
Once the tooth has been cleaned off re-insert the tooth back into its position. Bite on a handkerchief to hold your tooth in place. Make arrangements to see an emergency dentist or endodontist as soon as possible, preferably within an hour of knocking your tooth out. Please note that this only applies to adult teeth. If a baby tooth gets knocked out, trying to reattach it could compromise and damage the root of the adult tooth forming beneath it.
If you are unable to see a dentist within a few hours of your accident you should preserve your tooth until you can see them. You can place your tooth in milk or in an emergency tooth preservation kit. This will keep the tooth alive and hygienic until you can see your doctor. Don’t store your tooth in regular tap water for long periods of time because the root surface cells won’t tolerate water for very long.
Getting It Reattached
When you see the dentist, they’ll take an X-ray to make sure that it’s in the correct position. They’ll splint the tooth to hold it in position. Teeth splints will usually stay in place for up to two weeks before the tooth has become firmly rooted back in place.
So what do you do if you can’t find your knocked-out tooth? You’ll have to get a tooth replacement at some point. Leaving that part of your mouth open and exposed can lead to all sorts of health problems, which include gum recession and loss of bone density.
You have several options for tooth replacements. They include the following:
- Denture: Removable false teeth that you’ll have to take out to clean.
- Bridge: A false tooth that’s been glued to the teeth on side of it using special cement.
- Implant: A titanium abutment inserted into the jaw bone.
Do you have a dental emergency or have more questions about knocking your tooth out? Give Dental Specialty Associates a call at 602-795-5995.