Many people especially those that do high impact sports can have teeth knocked out at anytime. There is however a good side to having a tooth knocked out versus having your tooth break apart and that is how far dentistry has come over the years. As long as the tooth that was knocked out is well taken care of the majority of times the tooth can be reattached. There are several emergency steps a person should take if they have a tooth knocked out or loosened by an traumatic accident.
1. Pick up the knocked out tooth carefully making sure to gently pick it up by the top of the tooth or the crown, so as to disturb the roots as little as possible. Do not try and clean the tooth because you run a risk of damaging the roots, simply put the tooth in the milk solution and it should clean it off while you are getting to your dentist.
2. Place the tooth into a small container filled with mild, preferably low fat or a saline solution. Remember the tooth’s roots are extremely fragile and they can be affected by heat, dehydration and cold so you should hand the tooth with care. The solution you place the tooth in should not be hot or cold just room temperature and should completely cover the tooth in the container.
3. Place a cold compress on the area in your mouth that the tooth came out to help reduce the swelling
4. Get to a dentist immediately or as soon as possible, because the longer the tooth is left out the risk of successfully reattaching the roots increase significantly. If you do have a permanent tooth knocked out it is vital that you get emergency assistance in order to hopefully save the tooth.
Another option you have if the dentist is going to be several minutes away, is to try and replace the tooth into the socket that it came out. Teeth that have been knocked out and are gently replaced into their sockets within the first 30 minutes have a better chance at being saved. If you want to do this you have to carefully place the tooth. Normally the tooth will have two and four roots, in which case you will have to make sure you are replacing the tooth the right way back into the socket and then try to gently push it back in. It is important that you do not use force and do more damage. However if the tooth is still attached in some way this maybe the only option you have since the tooth is not completely knocked out. If you can’t get the tooth back in and it is still attached and the other option of carrying it in a container is not an option, just try to keep the tooth as moist as possible and not to move it until you can get emergency care. If you do get the tooth repositioned in your socket, gently bite down to keep it there or place a moist compress over it and get to your dentist as soon as possible.
Dentistry over the years has come a long way and the dentist should be able to save the tooth if the roots are not damaged. However sometimes no matter what you do the tooth may be too traumatized to reattach successfully.
The more teeth that are knocked out at one time the more difficult it is to try and reinsert them into the sockets and since time is of the essence getting emergency dental care is essential.
I’ve been a nurse for a long time and I’ve seen many patients come in to the emergency room with knocked out teeth. Trust me it doesn’t matter what the cause whether it was your teenage son on a skateboard, a bar fight gone terribly wrong or a motor vehicle accident in which there was facial trauma, everyone is concerned with their smile.
References for this article include: www.chw.edu.au/parents/factsheets/tewhattj.htm