How Can a Broken Tooth Be Reattached?

It shows the amazing state of contemporary medicine when doctors are able to reattach a limb that has been lost due to an accident. Did you know that an emergency dentist has the ability to reattach a tooth that has been knocked out? This is not something that can happen at a later date, and it's critical that you get to the dentist immediately if the process is to have a chance of success. But how easy is it to reattach a tooth that has been broken off?

How It Works

Essentially the dentist will reinsert the tooth back into its socket. Ideally, your jawbone will then fuse with the tooth, securing it in its permanent position, much like it was before, although further work might be needed. In order to hold the tooth in the correct position, your dentist will fasten it into place (generally with wire) or use a bonding agent (sometimes bonding the tooth to its neighbours), which can then be removed once the process has been completed. How long it takes for the tooth to be reattached can vary, and your dentist might schedule a number of follow-up visits to chart its progress. In some instances, the tooth might successfully be placed back into the socket, although damage to the dental pulp (the nerve inside the tooth) might have occurred. If this is determined to have happened, a root canal might be suggested in order to remove the damaged dental pulp (which can only take place when the tooth is fully secured). Your chances for success are maximised if you follow the best procedure for collecting the broken tooth immediately after the accident.

The Best Process

So how can you best pick up and transport a broken tooth?

  • Pick it up (after washing your hands) only by its tip, never the base. The base is where those delicate nerves are located, and you should not touch them as this can hinder the chances of a successful reattachment.

  • Gently rinse the tooth in water.

  • Depending on the location of the tooth (such as a molar), you might be able to hold it in its socket by carefully reinserting it and biting down very gently. Alternatively, you can hold it in your cheek. This preserves the nerves. If neither of these options is possible, put it into milk.

  • Immediately make your way to an emergency dentist.

The quicker you correctly transport the broken tooth to a dentist, the higher the chances are for a successful reattachment.