It can be difficult to think clearly in the moments following one of your teeth being knocked out. However, acting swiftly and correctly can make the difference between saving and losing the tooth for good, so it’s important that you’ve got a clear understanding of how to act if it happens to you. We’ll take you through the steps you need to take in the immediate aftermath of having a tooth knocked out, so you can put yourself in the best position to save your displaced tooth.
First things first: find the tooth. Obviously, you can’t replant the tooth without finding it, so in situations where the tooth has been lost, a denture, implant or bridge will be used as a replacement. It’s also important that the tooth doesn’t get too dirty, as can be the case from prolonged exposure to the ground, which is why you should try to find it as quickly as possible.
If the tooth is dirty, you’ll need to rinse it with water. As you’re rinsing it off, there’s a couple of things you need to bear in mind:
When you hold the tooth, be sure to hold it from the crown (the upper part of the tooth) and not the root (the part of your tooth that’s below the gum line). This is because you can crush the root cells by applying too much pressure, which can make replanting the tooth impossible.
This is the most important part of the entire process. Replanting the tooth into the socket gives you a much better chance of saving it, especially if you are able to replant it within five minutes of the tooth being knocked out.
One exception to this is when it comes to baby teeth. There’s no real need to replant the tooth, since the adult tooth will come through anyway. Be careful, because attempting to replant a baby tooth can damage the socket permanently.
If you’re unable to replant the tooth into the socket, you’ll need to store the tooth somewhere moist. Allowing the tooth to dry out can be fatal for your chances of saving it. Some alternatives to the tooth socket include:
Whatever you do, try not to store the tooth in a glass of tap water. This can be damaging to the root surface cells, and will mean that the tooth is unable to be saved.
You should do this as soon as possible, or have someone else do it for you while you replant the tooth. Receiving treatment from a dentist within an hour of the tooth being knocked out can be the decisive factor when it comes to saving it. After you arrive at the dentist, they’ll replant the tooth before performing a root canal. Often the root canal will happen immediately, although in some cases the dentist will wait to perform it. Your replanted tooth will also be splinted in order to hold it in place.
Had a tooth knocked out? Contact 1-800-DENTIST and get an appointment with a local emergency dentist today.