If you or child knock out a tooth, you might start to panic. After all, a tooth that was once living peacefully in your mouth is now lying on the ground. However, it is important to stop and take a deep breath. Roughly 5 million teeth are knocked out in the United States every year, and approximately 90 percent of them can be saved. It is crucial, though, to follow these steps to maximize your chances of saving the tooth.
How you handle the tooth can make the difference on whether it can be reattached, and it is vital to protect the tiny roots and nerves. Gently pick up the tooth by the chewing surfaces, avoiding the root end.
Rinse or Wipe the Tooth
If you have access to water, gently rinse away loose dirt. If not, use your hands to carefully wipe away obvious debris from the chewing surfaces, but do not touch the root. Do not use any tools such as a rag or a toothbrush, and do not apply any cleanser including soap or toothpaste.
Transport the Tooth in the Mouth
Your or your child’s own saliva is the best way to protect the tooth. If possible, carefully push it back into its socket. Otherwise, place it between the cheek and the gum tissue. Do not drink or eat anything, as you could damage or even swallow the tooth.
Milk Makes a Good Substitute
If there is severe oral trauma, the tooth belongs to a very small child, or there is some other reason not to transport the tooth in the mouth, gently submerge it in a glass of milk. Specialized dental solution is also available, but procuring it immediately is generally impossible. It is usually used by dentists to prolong the lifespan of knocked out teeth once they reach the office.
Do not submerge the tooth in water. This will likely cause severe trauma to the root, killing the tooth and making it impossible to reattach. Rinsing is acceptable, but prolonged exposure to water is never okay.
See the Dentist ASAP
A knocked out tooth is an extreme dental emergency, as most successful reattachments occur within 15 to 30 minutes of the tooth being knocked out. It is worth trying to save a tooth that has been knocked out for even an hour or more, especially if it has been kept in the mouth, but the chances of success drop dramatically after the first 30 minutes. If your regular dentist’s office is closed, go to the nearest emergency dentist. Emergency dentists are available 24/7, 365 days per year.
Although a knocked out tooth can be scary, it is actually quite common, and there is an excellent chance for the tooth to be saved. If you or your child knock out a tooth, take a deep breath and remain calm. Follow the tips above, see a dentist immediately, and follow up with your regular dentist within a few days.
Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.