KNOCKED OUT A TOOTH?

 

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS DENTAL EMERGENCIES FOR PERMANENT TEETH…

However, the damage can be fixed. If you act quickly, there’s a good chance the tooth can be saved. 

If you have knocked out a tooth, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged, too. The nerves and blood vessels can’t be repaired. That is why all knocked out or avulsed teeth will eventually need a root canal. However, the bone can reattach to the root of the tooth once it’s put back into place. If you have knocked out a tooth, the odds of saving it are highest in young children, but adult teeth can be saved as well. Only permanent teeth need to be re-implanted. If the tooth is intact (not broken in pieces) it is always best to try to save it. Ideally, you should have the tooth re-implanted within the hour of the accident.

 

HOW DO I AVOID DAMAGING THE TOOTH FURTHER?

A FEW THINGS TO DO…

  • Handle it as little as possible. Try not to touch the root (the part of the tooth that was under the gum). It can be damaged easily. If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the upper part (the crown) and rinse it with milk or water. Don’t wipe it off with a washcloth, shirt or other fabric. This could damage the tooth.
  • Keep the tooth moist. Drop it into a glass of milk. If you can’t do this, place the tooth in your mouth, between the cheek and gum. A young child may not be able to safely “store” the tooth in his or her mouth without swallowing it. Instead, have the child spit into a cup. Place the tooth in the cup with the saliva. If nothing else is available, place the tooth in a cup of water. The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist.
  • Try slipping the tooth back into its socket. Be careful not to swallow the tooth! In many cases, it will slip right in. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Don’t try to force it into the socket. If it doesn’t go back into place easily and without pressure, then just keep it moist (in milk, saliva or water) and get in to see us as soon as you can.
  • You can apply a cold, wet compress to help with any bleeding coming from the tooth socket.

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN I GET TO THE OFFICE?

Putting the tooth back in place is sometimes simple but other times it can be complicated, especially if the tooth or bone is broken. A few things to expect when you get to the office:

1. We will use water to flush any debris out of the tooth socket

2. We will slip the tooth back into place

3. The tooth will be splinted to the teeth on either side with soft wire and/or composite material. This will hold the tooth in place for several days. The exact length of time will be determined on a case by case basis. 

4. If bone around the tooth was not fractured, the root will usually reattach firmly to the bone in about 3 – 4 weeks. More damage to the area may require extra repair time.

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