Knocked Out Tooth? 3 Things You Have to Do to Save It
There can be something rather shocking about losing a tooth. It's a part of you, and an object that should be firmly attached to your gum is now on the ground, or perhaps rolling around inside your mouth. If you act quickly, it can be possible for a dentist to reattach the tooth. This is of course preferable to leaving the situation as is, necessitating an expensive dental implant or partial denture further along the road. What exactly do you need to do to save a tooth that has been knocked out?
Locate the Tooth
Has the force of the injury knocked the tooth onto the ground? Retrieve it immediately and rinse it under water to remove any dirt. Keep the water flow at a minimum to reduce the chance of it slipping from your grasp and being washed down the drain. If the tooth is still in your mouth, wash your hands (since you might now have an open wound inside your mouth) and gently retrieve it. As before, carefully rinse it (in this case to remove any blood).
Store the Tooth
Milk is the best solution in which to store a broken tooth before you can get to the dentist. Unlike water, milk protects the cells of the tooth, preventing them from swelling (and even bursting), which can make reattachment difficult. UHT milk is ideal as it's often stored at room temperature, meaning that the vulnerable cells are not subjected to an abrupt change in temperature. But cold milk from the fridge is also a valid option. Place the tooth into a small, clean container with a sealable lid. Pour enough milk into the container so that the tooth is completely immersed and then seal it.
Contact a Dentist
This is something that needs to happen immediately. Contact a dentist office and stress the urgency of the situation. If they are unable to see you, ask for a referral to an emergency dentist (and you might need to contact an emergency dentist in the first instance if the accident happens outside of standard working hours). Time is of the essence when it comes to the likelihood of success. The dentist will examine the jaw around the missing tooth to rule out a bone fracture (which can make reattachment problematic, though not impossible). The dentist will put the tooth back into its socket and will apply a small splint to keep it in place. Once the root attaches to the bone, the splint can be removed, although further monitoring will be needed, along with careful care of the weakened tooth until healing has been completed. A root canal might be necessary as well.
A knocked out tooth can be quite a shock, but with some quick action and medical intervention, it doesn't have to be goodbye.