Your friends are back in town for the holidays, and you’re all celebrating by tossing the old pigskin around. You’re having a grand old time until one of your friends tackles you a little harder than they meant to, and your face smashes right into the ground. When you get up, you notice that your tooth has been knocked out! Can you save it? Yes, but only if you act quickly. Call your emergency dentist first thing, but in the meantime, here are the steps you need to take to save your tooth.
1. Pick Up the Tooth by the Crown
NEVER pick up a knocked-out tooth by the root. Instead, hold it by the chewing surface, also known as the crown. Be sure to handle the tooth carefully.
2. If Dirty, Rinse the Tooth with Water
Rinse the tooth with only warm water and nothing else. Do NOT use soap or chemicals. Don’t scrub or dry the tooth, whatever you do. The most important thing here, besides getting to your emergency dentist as soon as possible, is to make sure the tooth remains moist.
3. Place the Tooth Back in the Socket If Possible
As soon as you can, try and place the tooth back in the socket. Gently use your fingers, and remember to handle the crown only, not the root. Alternatively, you can position it above the socket and then slowly close your mouth to bite down on it.
4. Keep the Tooth Moist at All Times
Again, the tooth has to stay wet in order to ensure a successful reimplantation. If you can’t place it back in the socket, try holding it between your cheek and gums. Or, you can put it in a container of milk or an emergency tooth preservation kit, like Save-a-Tooth. Whatever you do, don’t use regular tap water, as the cells on the root surface of your tooth cannot tolerate that for extended periods of time.
5. See Your Dentist Within 30 Minutes of the Injury
When you see your emergency dentist, make sure to bring the tooth with you. It’s best to see the dentist within 30 minutes of the tooth being knocked out if at all possible. However, the tooth may still be successfully reattached even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.
If your tooth ever gets dislodged, call your dentist right away. In the meantime, follow these steps to increase the likelihood that your tooth can be successfully reimplanted.
About the Author
Dr. Dan Maurer followed in his father’s footsteps by choosing to serve at Longmont Complete Dentistry. He achieved his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. His friendliness and unwavering dedication to his patients make him a very valuable asset to his patients in the Longmont, CO community. His practice offers same-day appointments for dental emergencies. If your tooth gets knocked out, don’t hesitate to contact Longmont Complete Dentistry at (303) 772-7000.