Having a tooth knocked out is a traumatic injury! Did you know that your dentist can actually put the tooth back into its place? The most important factor in the success of re-implanting a knocked out tooth is your ability to act quickly. By knowing what to do if you or a loved one suffer a knocked out tooth, you can drastically increase the success of keeping that tooth in your mouth.
Step 1: Call Your Dentist
We actually recommend delegating this step to someone who is with you so that you can quickly move onto step number two. This is a true dental emergency that requires urgent intervention. If this injury occurs during normal business hours, simply call your dentist at the office. If it occurs in the evening or on a weekend, you should call your dentist’s office number and follow instructions to reach the on-call dentist.
This step underlines the importance of having an established relationship with a dentist. If you currently do not see a dentist regularly, this is a great reason to start. Not only will it ensure a higher level of dental health throughout your lifetime; it provides you with the help you will need in the event of an emergency.
Step 2: Find the Tooth
Obviously, if we are going to re-implant the tooth into the socket, we must have the tooth. Again, it is helpful to recruit others to help you in this step. If you are the one who suffered the knocked out tooth, you will be experiencing pain. You may not be in the best condition to search.
While searching, you will want to use a napkin, tissue, or even clothing to stop the bleeding from the tooth’s socket. Place a small amount in the missing tooth’s site and bite firmly.
Step 3: Handle the Tooth Carefully
When you find the tooth, especially if you find it in the dirt, it can be tempting to try to clean it. Do not do this! In the attempt to clean and remove debris, you could be removing vital cells from the root’s surface. Without those cells, the tooth will not reattach into the jawbone. Do not perform any brushing or scrubbing. At the most, you can dip in some plain water to remove any debris.
Instead, hold the tooth by the visible portion only. Try not to touch the root of the tooth at all.
Step 4: Store the Tooth
As you are making your way to the dental office, you must store the tooth in something to prevent it becoming dehydrated. We know it sounds unpleasant, but the very best place to store it is in your own mouth. If you can stomach it, hold the tooth in your mouth until you can give it directly to your dentist.
If you cannot hold the tooth in your mouth, place it in a container of saliva. You only need enough to cover the tooth. Milk is an alternative, but it is far inferior to saliva, so we only recommend it as a last resort.
Step 5: See the Dentist
Once you reach the dentist, you can relax because you have done everything possible to contribute to the success of re-implantation. Your dentist will likely use local anesthetic to make your mouth numb so that the re-implantation of the tooth is not painful. He or she will also use something, either metal wires or fiber tape, to splint this tooth to the neighboring teeth for support. This support and stabilization is essential to the re-attachment process.
The splint will feel like something is “glued” to the teeth, and it will remain in place for two to six weeks as the dentist monitors your healing.
Step 6: Follow Post-Op Instructions Closely
After the tooth is back in its place in your mouth, splinted to the adjacent teeth, you must care for it diligently. Stability is necessary for the cells on the tooth’s root to reattach to the surrounding jawbone. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on care, and one will likely be to stick to a soft diet for several weeks.
The goal is to eliminate any force or pressure on this tooth, allowing it to successfully attach to the jawbone around it. This includes preventing any inflammation in the surrounding gum tissue due to dental plaque. You will receive instructions on keeping the area clean and free from bacteria.
More Questions about Knocked Out Teeth?
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today and schedule a consultation with our dental experts. We can answer any question you have about this type of injury and how to address it, should it occur to you or a loved one. Call us at (845) 259-2500 or complete our online contact form today!