What to do if your tooth is knocked out
Your first reaction if your tooth is knocked out might be to freak out, cry, flail your arms and tell yourself life is over (speaking from experience).
Do not do that – Unless you are a famous hockey player who wears this empty tooth slot like a badge of honor. Everything will be fine.
Modern dentistry has come along way and if you act quickly it will increase the likelihood of saving the tooth.
The upper front permanent teeth are the most common teeth to be completely knocked out. Baby teeth are usually not reimplanted in the mouth after an injury, since they are replaced naturally by permanent teeth later. When a tooth is knocked out, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged, too. The nerves and blood vessels can’t be repaired. That is why all avulsed teeth will need a root canal. However, the bone can reattach to the root of the tooth once it’s put back into place.
It’s very important to get to the dentist as fast as possible, typically within one hour, to avoid the tooth being damaged any further. There are several steps to take to assure safe and clean keeping.
Tips to follow to increase chances of saving the tooth:
- Do not touch the root
- If the tooth is dirty rinse it with milk. (Milk helps the roots survive) Water will do if you do not have milk.
- Do not use fabric to clean the tooth
- The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist. Drop it in a glass of milk. If you can’t do this, place the tooth in your mouth, between the cheek and gum.
- Try slipping the tooth back into its socket. If this does not happen easily revert back to the option above.
Teeth cannot always be saved, however. At that point your dentist will discuss options of porcelain crowns and dental implants.
Once you are at the dentist he/she will rinse the tooth and asses the condition of the mouth and tooth. The dentist may perform a root canal right away, or may wait. It mostly depends on how long the tooth was out of the mouth. The dentist will splint the avulsed tooth to the teeth on either side with a soft wire material. Usually splints the tooth to the surrounding teeth for 7 to 10 days. If the bone around the tooth also has been fractured, the tooth may have to be splinted for 6 to 10 weeks. Reimplanted teeth eventually need root canal treatment. This will be used to hold the tooth in place for several days. Your dentist will decide how long the splint should remain in.
Once the hard part is over your dentist will examine the tooth in three to six months. Unless there are signs of infection, the next visit will occur at your yearly checkup. The dentist will follow up for the next two to three years to ensure that the tooth re-implanted successfully.
Contact Lafayette Dentist Dr. Chauvin immediately if your tooth is broken or knocked and follow the steps above to assure your mouth health stays on track!