Knocked Out Teeth: Next Steps for the Most Common Dental Emergency
Contrary to what the movies might tell you, there are other ways to knock out a tooth than getting into a fist fight. It’s a common dental emergency caused by falls, face injuries, sports, etc. Surprisingly, only 9% of US adults know what to do. If it happens to you, don’t despair. Act quickly and ideally see your dentist within 30 minutes. Reimplantation has even been successful after an hour. Be prepared and increase your chances of saving your tooth!
- Locate and pick up the tooth by the crown.
- Under NO circumstances should you pick the tooth up by the roots. Hold the tooth at the crown (chewing surface). Be very gentle when handling the tooth and do your best not to damage the roots for greater chances of re-implantation.
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse gently with water.
- Rinse the tooth very briefly, no more than 10 seconds, only using lukewarm water. Do not use chemicals or soaps. Even too much tap water can kill the root cells that are needed for a successful reimplantation. Do not dry the tooth, wipe it off, or place it in a paper towel.
- Attempt to place the tooth back in the socket.
- Placing the tooth back in the socket is the most ideal next step until you can get to your dentist. If the lost tooth is wholly intact from root to crown, attempt to place the tooth back in the socket right away. Holding it by the crown, push the tooth into the socket gently. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or very gently bite down.
- Keep the tooth moist at all times.
- It is imperative that you do not let the tooth dry out, keeping it moist at all times. If the tooth will not go back in the socket, you have a couple of options. According to the Mayo Clinic, placing the tooth in your cheek is the best and most natural alternative to placing it back in the socket. You can also place the tooth in milk or an over-the-counter emergency tooth preservation kit.
- See your dentist within 30 minutes of the injury.
- After your tooth has been knocked completely out of the socket, the nerve is severed and the blood supply is lost, meaning you do not have much time before that nerve dies completely, hence the urgency. Call Handcrafted Smiles immediately to inquire about our emergency services. Though it’s unlikely, if the dentist cannot see you in time, go to the emergency room.
The time it takes for a tooth to reattach into the socket varies from one to eight weeks, depending on the extent of damage. Once healed, regular check-ups should suffice. If reimplantation isn’t possible, your dentist may discuss tooth replacement options like a dental bridge or implant after the socket has healed.
To prevent having to actually do any of this in the future, make sure you’re always taking precautions to protect your mouth. If you play a contact sport, be sure you are wearing a mouthguard not only in games but in practice as well. When life happens, however, you can now be prepared and potentially save yourself from a much more invasive and costly procedure. At Handcrafted Smiles, we want you fully equipped with the knowledge you need to take care of your oral health.