Tooth Knocked Out? Here’s What You Need to Do – Now
It happened. You or a loved one had a tooth knocked out. Here’s exactly what you need to do to protect your health and your mouth, right now.
More than five million teeth are knocked out every year.
A tooth knocked out, whether it is yours or a loved ones, means there is no time to waste.
Time is the most important factor in saving a tooth. In an ideal situation, you want to get to the dentist within the hour. But that is no easy feat and that is not always possible.
There are certain things you can do to extend that window to 24 hours, however.
The clock is ticking, so let’s waste no more time. Keep this article handy, whether that be in memory, by saving the link, or by following the website.
Begin Scenario: The Tooth is Knocked Out
- For children: Check to see if it was a baby or an adult tooth.
As you are aware, children are supposed to lose their baby teeth. So if it was a baby tooth, there is no dire emergency.
Give the child ibuprofen or similar over-the-counter pain relief medication if the injured mouth is sore. Arrange an appointment with the dentist and save the tooth for the dentist to inspect.
If the tooth is dirty:
- Rinse the tooth briefly with tap water or milk.
- Don’t scrub the tooth or use disinfectant.
If the tooth is clean:
- Put the tooth back into its socket as soon as possible.
A tooth replaced back into the socket within five minutes has great odds of surviving. A tooth replaced back into the socket between five to sixty minutes still has good odds of being saved.
Any time past that and the odds decrease significantly.
Once you have the tooth back in, have the person bite down gently on a handkerchief to keep the tooth as secure as possible.
- Don’t touch the root.
The root contains important fibers that are essential for proper healing and to allow the tooth to reattach itself. Only handle the tooth by the top surface area.
Just remember the area you can touch is white, the part you normally see when you look at your teeth. The roots are yellow.
The root is the vital part that puts the time limit on saving a tooth. Once the root dries out and dies, then the tooth cannot be saved.
If the tooth can’t be put back in:
- Put the tooth in a cup of milk or saline (not water).
- Put the tooth back in the mouth, between the cheek and gums.
You are keeping the tooth moist with these methods. Don’t wrap the tooth in cotton, wool, or paper of any kind.
This is also creating a 24-hour window with good odds to save the tooth.
After the Tooth is Found and Secured
- Get to the dentist as quickly as possible.
OR if that’s difficult depending on the time of day and other factors:
- Go to an emergency room first and then see a dentist afterward as quickly as possible.
Looking at the latter option first, if you can’t see a dentist right away, you can go to an emergency room.
Some emergency rooms may have an emergency dentist on duty, but not all. This might mean they may be unable to do much for the tooth. Always call first and check.
Some 24-hour urgent dental cares also exist, but they might not be very common depending on where you live.
What Your Dentist Will Do
Your dentist will perform a necessary root canal for long term survival of the tooth, usually right away, but it depends on how long the tooth was out of the mouth.
They will reimplant the tooth, and splint it to adjacent teeth. It will stay splinted for two to eight weeks with a soft wire, depending on the amount of damage to the area.
Your dentist will want to examine the tooth again within three to six months and will follow up with it on your yearly checkups.
This can be a part of your yearly checkups for up to three years, to ensure it reimplanted successfully.
Prevent the Scenario
The most common cause for a tooth being knocked out is a sports related injury. But there is a piece of safety equipment out there to help prevent this and is known to prevent 200,000 oral injuries a year: the mouthguard.
An athlete is sixty times more likely to receive a dental injury when not wearing a mouthguard.
Types of Mouthguards
There are three types of mouthguards available: stock, boil and bite, and custom-fitted.
Stock mouthguards are preformed and come ready to use out of the package. They are relatively inexpensive and can be found in most sporting goods stores and sporting sections in department stores.
While stock mouthguards do offer some form of protection, nothing can be done to adjust their fit inside the mouth. They also make talking and breathing difficult.
Boil and bite mouthguards are similar to stock mouthguards, except they offer a better fit. Found in most sporting goods stores, they are usually made out of a thermoplastic material.
The boil and bite mouthguard is softened in hot water, and then placed in the mouth to be shaped with finger, teeth, and tongue pressure.
Finally, your dentist can create a custom-fitted mouthguard. Your dentist takes an impression of your teeth and a mouthguard is molded from the print. This creates the best fitting mouthguard, customized for the individual’s mouth.
Mouthguards usually just protect the upper teeth, but your dentist can make a guard for your lower teeth as well.
Not only do you want to keep your mouthguard clean because you are sticking it in your mouth, but it will also keep it in optimal shape.
- Gently brush your mouthguard with your toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store it in a case to add protection.
- Keep it out of the sun to avoid melting it and making it deformed.
- Don’t chew on it.
- Replace it when it becomes worn out.
The first step in an emergency dental situation of a tooth knocked out is prevention. The second step is to know what to do should it occur. Save your teeth and you save your smile.