Anyone involved in sports or even a moderate level of clumsiness knows that a dental emergency is never fun. If you’ve been there, you know the feeling. Usually it starts with an impact or a crunch followed by the quick realization that something is wrong. Whether it’s a popcorn kernel in the movie theater or an errant elbow on the soccer field, a dental emergency is never something you want to have to deal with. But above all other dental emergencies, like cracking or chipping a tooth, patients seem to fear knocking a tooth out the most. So what should you do if it happens to you? First, take a deep breath. Every day, dentists deal with knocked out teeth, and the likelihood of saving your tooth is still very good. Need some pointers? Read on.
You’ve Had a Tooth Knocked Out
Knocking a tooth out is also known as an “avulsed tooth”, and for many patients it can be one of the more concerning dental emergencies sheerly due to the blood, pain, and drama involved. . The most important thing to do is to make sure the tooth that was knocked out is washed clean of any debris or dirt. But don’t scrub it clean! A gentle rinse with cool water will do. On top of this, you might even try to put the tooth back into its socket. It might be daunting at first, but re-planting the tooth can drastically help your chances when it comes to successfully saving the tooth. However, if there is swelling and bleeding in the area, this might not always be possible.
If you can’t re-plant the tooth in its socket, your next best option is to preserve it in a small container of milk. Your parents always said milk will help grow good, strong bones — and when it comes to teeth this is no different. However, it can also help act as a great preservative that will increase the likelihood that your dentist can implant the tooth successfully back into its rightful home. If milk isn’t available, your own saliva will do the trick as well. Either spit into a container, or simply hold the tooth in your mouth between your lip and gum line (but be careful not to swallow it!).
When you knock a tooth out, it’s important to see an emergency dentist as soon as possible in order to increase the chance that your tooth can be saved. Even if you’re able to re-plant the tooth yourself, it’s still important for you to see your dentist as soon as possible.
“What happens when I get to the dentist?”
If you knocked out a tooth and were able to replant it in its socket, your dentist will still most likely need to splint it to another tooth in order to help it keep its proper alignment while it heals. Your dentist will also want to monitor it over time to ensure successful implantation, and to keep an eye on any possible side-effects that can happen due to the general trauma that your mouth and teeth were put through.
“What about a tooth that’s been dislodged or moved?”
When a tooth has become dislodged or moved out of place, it’s also called a “luxated” tooth. Common due to sports injuries and falls, luxated teeth are usually pushed sideways or backwards, and out of proper alignment. Like a tooth that’s been knocked out, luxated teeth are a dental emergency you should contact your dentist about immediately in order to reposition the tooth, and potentially splint it in order to accelerate proper healing. Many times, root canal treatment is required for teeth that have been moved out of place.