The idea of having a tooth knocked out of your head may send shivers down your spine, and rightfully so — according to Colgate, a knocked-out tooth, also known as an “avulsed” tooth, is one of the most serious dental emergencies for permanent teeth. Fortunately, if you act fast, the tooth can be saved.
Here are five tooth-saving steps recommended by emergency dentists.
- Pick up the tooth by the crown: When you find your tooth, handle it carefully. Hold it by the crown (chewing surface), not by the root, as this end can be easily damaged.
- Rinse it: Gently clean off the tooth with water or milk. Never use any kind of soap or chemical solution, and do not scrub, dry, or wrap it in cloth.
- Keep the tooth moist: Allowing the tooth to dry out could cause permanent damage. Colgate recommends placing the tooth in a glass of milk, not tap water.
- Try putting it back in the socket: The best place for your tooth is in your mouth. Try to gently slip it back into its socket and hold it in place by biting down. The trick is to always handle the tooth with care; don’t force it.
- Visit an emergency dentist: The American Association of Endodontists recommends taking your tooth to a dentist within 30 minutes of the injury. Emergency dentists will typically flush out the socket, slip the tooth back into place, and perform a root canal. They will also splint the tooth to the teeth with a soft wire or composite material to hold it in place for a few days.
As long as you follow the steps listed above and the tooth is not fractured, you’ll likely experience a full recovery within three to four weeks. If the tooth cannot be re-implanted, there are other options available. For instance, around 15 million people in the U.S. have used crown and bridge replacements for missing teeth. Others prefer dental implants. And dentures are an excellent option for those with more widespread tooth loss.
Losing a permanent tooth is certainly a painful and frightening thought. But if this ever happens to you, don’t hesitate to give us a call!