Nothing is more frightening than losing an adult tooth because it won’t grow back. Over 5 million teeth are knocked out every year, but not all are lost for good. Contrary to common belief, some displaced teeth can be saved. Your best bet is to reinsert the tooth back into its socket. Here’s what you should do if you’ve had a tooth knocked out.
Steps to Take for a Knocked-Out Tooth
You must act fast if you’ve lost a tooth because time is of the utmost importance. The steps you take at home and how quickly you receive dental care will influence the likelihood of saving your tooth. Here’s how to provide the quick care you need at home:
- Find Your Tooth: Find your tooth and only hold it by the crown. Do not touch the root or it can damage healthy cells.
- Clean Your Tooth: Rinse your tooth with water to clean off any debris. Do not use any soaps or cleaners. Do not dry your tooth because it must be kept moist.
- Reinsert Your Tooth: Carefully reinsert your tooth back into its socket and bite on a piece of gauze to hold it in place.
- Preserve Your Tooth: If you weren’t successful reinserting your tooth, you must preserve it by placing it in milk. Avoid using water or salt because it can damage the root cells. Instead, place it in a cup of milk and bring it with you to your dentist.
Get to an Emergency Dentist
Contact your emergency dentist right away. Receiving dental care within the first 30 to 45 minutes of losing a tooth promotes a better outcome. The longer you wait, the more likely your tooth will be lost for good.
Your emergency dentist will get you into the office quickly to formulate a treatment plan. They may attach a thin wire to adjacent teeth to hold the tooth in place to allow the ligaments and surrounding tissues to heal.
Replacing a Knocked-Out Tooth
If your tooth cannot be saved, your dentist will discuss replacement options to fill the gap in your smile, like:
- Bridge: All-ceramic material is used to recreate the portion of the tooth above the gum line. The restoration is held in place by bonding dental crowns over your adjacent teeth.
- Partial: A prosthetic tooth is set in a gum-colored base that has a metal framework, which allows it to clip or clasp onto your remaining teeth to stay in place.
- Dental Implant: An implant post is surgically placed into your jawbone to serve as a new root. An abutment is attached to the post to connect your custom-made restoration. It is the only method to replace both the root and the crown.
If you’ve had a tooth knocked out, don’t panic! Assess the situation, provide the appropriate first aid, and contact your emergency dentist immediately.
About Dr. Richard Derksen
Dr. Derksen earned his dental degree at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and continued his education for 3 years in prosthodontics. He regularly furthers his education to provide the most advanced services. Dr. Derksen is a proud member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. If you need an emergency dentist contact our office at (214) 761-8549.