Getting a tooth knocked out by an accident or injury is a serious situation. However, with prompt action, you can save the tooth and have it replanted.
After the initial shock of having what dentists call an avulsed tooth, you should know what to do to save it.
What to Do When an Adult’s Tooth is Knocked Out
According to Park Crossing Dentistry, you will need to hurry to preserve the tooth. When a permanent tooth is knocked out, there will be damage to the blood vessels and supporting tissues. Those can’t be repaired and you’ll need a root canal.
The good news is that the bone can reattach to the root of your tooth once it’s put back in place. Children have higher odds of saving permanent teeth that have been knocked out, though it’s not impossible for adults.
You’ll need to get to the dentist as quickly as you can while avoiding damaging your avulsed tooth even more. These tips will help you have the best chance of success.
Handle with Care
Avoid touching the root of your tooth. This area is very sensitive and can be easily damaged.
If your knocked-out tooth is dirty, hold it by the crown and rinse it with milk. In the absence of milk, water will work. Never wipe it off on anything as it could lead to more damage.
Keep It Moist
Once cleaned, put the tooth into a cup of milk. If you are unable to do so, you can slip the tooth in your mouth so it is held with your cheek and gum. For children, they should spit into a cup and you can place the tooth in their saliva. Water also works to help keep a tooth moist, which is the goal until you can get to the dentist.
Try Putting It Back
You can also try putting the tooth back into its socket, which often works. Just make sure you have it facing the correct direction. You should never try to force it in, and if it won’t slide in easily without pressure, keeping it moist will help.
What the Dentist Will Do with a Knocked-Out Tooth
Much of what your dentist will do will depend on the circumstances. Sometimes, it’s easy to put a tooth back in place. Other times, complications will make for greater challenges, such as if your tooth is broken or you have a broken jaw from the injury.
Your dentist will flush any debris from the socket with water and then attempt to put the tooth back in place. Time is of the essence as you will want to get to the dentist within an hour of having your tooth knocked out.
Your dentist may choose to perform a root canal immediately or wait, depending on how long your tooth was out of your mouth. After the tooth has been reinserted, your dentist will use a splint to hold it in place for a few days.
In cases where the bone around the tooth was not damaged, the root will reattach to the bone in a few weeks. With severe damage, it may take up to two months to fully repair. You’ll need to go back to the dentist soon after to have them check on the tooth to see if the reimplantation was successful.
What to Do When a Baby Tooth Is Knocked Out
If a baby’s tooth was knocked out, you can try to reinsert it. Controlling bleeding with sterile gauze can help as long as your child can bite down to hold it in place. Follow the same methods for an adult tooth and head to the dentist immediately.
Sometimes, when a baby tooth gets knocked out, it can get lodged elsewhere in your child’s mouth. The dentist will check with an X-ray to see if they can find it and look for other injuries.
While losing baby teeth is just part of the normal process for children, losing them too early can lead to dental issues. When baby teeth are forced into the gums, they can damage the permanent teeth waiting below the gum line. Additionally, the other teeth may crowd that now-vacant spot, which will not leave adequate room for the permanent teeth to come through.
Your dentist can insert a space maintainer to hold the spot for the permanent tooth below. If the tooth that was knocked out was already loose, there may be less to worry about, but you should still have your dentist check your child to be certain.