No one ever expects to lose a tooth – at least not after the age of 12. However, this injury is more common than you might think; the American Association of Endodontists reports that more than 5 million children and adults in the U.S. have their teeth knocked out every year.
A knocked-out tooth isn’t a big deal for kids, as baby teeth can’t be re-implanted and adult teeth can still grow in. Adults who lose teeth, on the other hand, can be facing a serious dental emergency.
So, what do you do when your permanent tooth falls out? Just follow these simple steps:
Whether you lose your tooth playing sports, falling down the stairs, or in any other sort of accident, it is very important to act fast to save the tooth. Your dentist can save and re-implant your tooth – but only if you get to their office within 30 minutes. After that time, the odds of saving your tooth drop significantly.
Find the Tooth
If you want your dentist to save your tooth, you’ll need to bring it with you to the office. This means that the first thing you should do is locate your missing tooth! Search the site of your accident until you find the tooth – and when you do, pick it up by the crown (the part that’s exposed in your mouth). NEVER pick a tooth up by the root.
As you make your way to the dentist, make sure you do not touch the root. This part is filled with tiny nerve fibers, which need to be alive and well for your dentist to re-implant the tooth. Touching the root can damage these nerves.
Keep it Clean
Once you find your tooth, you’ll want to inspect it for signs of damage. If the tooth is dirty, feel free to gently rinse it in water. However, make sure you don’t scrub the tooth too hard, as this can damage those exposed nerve fibers in the root.
Additionally, do not use any soap or chemicals to clean your tooth. These can also damage the nerves fragments, making it impossible to save the tooth. Once the tooth is cleaned, hold it carefully by the crown and do not dry it or wrap it in cloth.
Keep it Moist
So, now you have a cleaned tooth in your hand. How do you get it to the dentist’s office? Your tooth needs to stay moist to stay alive – and the best way to do that is to keep it in your mouth. Try to put the tooth back in the socket where it fell out or put it in your mouth next to your cheek.
Of course, sometimes your tooth cannot be re-inserted into your mouth. In that case, the best thing to do is store your tooth in a glass of cold, whole milk. This will keep your tooth alive until you can get to the dentist.
Get Emergency Dental Services
At this point, there’s only one thing left to do: get to your dentist as quickly as possible. He or she will be able to examine your mouth and – if possible – re-implant your knocked-out tooth. Even if your tooth can’t be saved, your dentist can provide you with other solutions, such as a bridge or dental implant.
At Manus Dental, we set aside time each day for patients with emergency dentistry needs. Our team will work quickly and efficiently to make sure you have a healthy, restored smile.