When you’ve experienced an injury or dental trauma, it can be as stressful as it is painful. As with any emergency, figuring out who to call, where to go, and what to do is overwhelming. Time is of the essence when you have a knocked out tooth. Luckily, there are a few ways to save and reinsert your tooth, but the proper steps must be taken swiftly. The best way to boost your odds of saving your tooth is to act as quickly as possible. Today, we’ll discuss the steps for you to take when an injury leaves you with a knocked out tooth, and how to care for your tooth until you can be seen by a dentist.
What To Do for a Knocked Out Tooth
According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer a dental injury when not wearing a mouthguard. The best way to prevent a tooth from being knocked out is by protecting your teeth during high-risk activities like contact sports. Mouthguards are excellent tools for preventing dental injuries, so talk to your dentist about the best kind of mouthguard for you or your child.
While prevention is important, accidents and injuries still happen. If you or your child is involved in contact sports, it’s important to know how to respond to dental injuries –– especially when it comes to a tooth that’s been knocked out.
Locate and Store the Tooth
The first thing you need to do is locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown. Never touch the roots of the tooth because it contains important fibers called periodontal ligaments that are necessary for healing. Once the tooth has been located, it should be transported to the patient in a cup of cool water or milk.
Once you locate the tooth, reinsert it into the socket. The tooth has a better chance of surviving if it’s put back into the socket within five minutes of the injury, but it still has a chance of surviving up to an hour as long as the tooth has been properly stored.
Keep the Tooth Moist
As we mentioned above, the best chance of survival is to reinsert the tooth back into the socket. But if the patient is too young and may choke on the tooth, or if the injury is too painful for the patient to tolerate having the tooth in the socket, store the tooth in a cup of milk or the patient’s saliva. Do not store the tooth in tap water, as it can damage the tooth. Make sure the entire tooth is immersed so it will not dry out. Drying the tooth out may make it impossible to save.
Contact Your Dentist
Contact your regular dentist as quickly as possible once the tooth has been lost. Most dental offices will have emergency appointments available for situations like these. If you’ve followed the above instructions and are able to be seen within an hour of losing the tooth, the odds are good that the tooth can be saved.
Preserving Your Smile for Years to Come
Remember that a knocked out tooth is a dental emergency. Acting quickly will increase your chances of saving your natural tooth and restoring your smile! Consider keeping the emergency phone number of your general dentist saved in your mobile phone contacts, and remember that the best way to protect your smile is with prevention.
Our team of specialists here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado care about protecting your smile for years to come. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation at one of our office locations in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.