If you’ve ever had a tooth knocked out, you know how scary and frustrating it can be. Nobody wants to walk around with a missing tooth and an embarrassing story about how it got knocked out! But don’t worry; if you’re proactive and a little lucky, you might be able to save a tooth that’s gone AWOL.
In this post, we’ll teach you what to do if you have a tooth knocked out so that you can minimize the damage and get your smile back on track as soon as possible. Keep reading for tips on how to handle a tooth emergency!
1. Find the Tooth
If it is a baby tooth that has been knocked out, there is no need to try and save the tooth… unless your kid is committed to getting that tooth fairy money, but that’s on them. However, if an adult tooth has been displaced, locate the tooth as quickly as you can.
When picking the tooth up, make sure you are only touching the crown (chewing surface) and not the root. The root is the life source of your tooth, and is also the most susceptible to damage.
2. Rinse the tooth off with water if it’s dirty
If the tooth is dirty, you can rinse it off with water. Make sure you are not using any chemicals or soap when cleaning the tooth, and avoid wrapping it up or drying it off. Use cool or tepid water – nothing freezing cold or piping hot. You don’t want to accidentally damage any of the live tissues.
3. Place tooth back into the socket
If possible, place the tooth back into the socket it came out of. When placed back into the socket, gentry bite down to keep it stable. Believe it or not, sometimes this’ll do the trick. You’ve just got to be really careful following the incident. And still go see your dentist about it, of course.
4. Keep the Tooth Moist
If you are not able to put the tooth back into its socket, it still needs to stay moist at all times. Do not use tap water for this as root surface cells cannot be in it for a long period of time. You can use either a cup of milk or saliva to preserve it. Teeth need calcium and nutrients; simply putting the tooth in water zaps the last of its resources (remember; it’s not getting any when it’s not in your mouth!).
5. Get to Your Dentist ASAP
It is best to see a dentist for an emergency appointment within 30 minutes of your tooth being knocked out. It is still possible to save the tooth if it has been outside of the mouth for an hour, however, the chances decrease the longer the time period is.
If your tooth gets knocked out, don’t panic! If you follow the steps above, there is a high chance that you will be able to save it and have it placed back in. Completing these steps, as well as seeing a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible will increase your chances of getting to keep your tooth.
What Happens if We Can’t Save the Knocked-Out Tooth?
Not every tooth recovery mission is a success, but that doesn’t mean your smile is permanently missing a piece from now on. Oral surgery has come a long way in replacing missing teeth, and you have options – anything from dentures to dental implants.
Depending on the solution to getting a tooth back into that spot, you will likely first need to wait until the socket heals from the initial injury. We help this process along with dentin bone grafting and maybe a bit of soft tissue grafting to restore any injury to the gum at the site. Then it’s time for you and our oral surgeon to discuss what sort of new tooth you want.
Dental implants are the ideal replacement for a knocked-out tooth, as they’re the only type of artificial teeth that replace the crown and the root. You never see them (or, you’re not supposed to), but the roots of your teeth are what hold your mouth together – literally.
If a tooth socket is left empty, the jaw actually starts to disintegrate in that area, which causes bone loss, tooth shifting, and makes you more susceptible to tooth decay, further tooth loss, infections, abscesses, and more. If you have an implant post and crown installed, your jaw will heal around it, and once it’s healed you and your mouth will forget you ever knocked the real one out in the first place!
However, dental implants aren’t for everybody, which is why we offer non-invasive and hybrid options! Make sure to ask us about our tooth replacement methods if we can’t save your tooth – the lost tooth might be a lost cause, but your smile isn’t.