Even if you’re not one of the 5 million people in the U.S. who suffers from a knocked-out tooth each year, it’s wise to know what to do, should you experience this situation. There’s good news and bad news regarding knocked-out teeth (also known as dental trauma). The good news is that a tooth that has been knocked out may be able to be saved. The bad news is that you have a small window of time to get emergency endodontic treatment or the tooth may be lost forever. Here’s exactly what to do if your tooth gets knocked out.
Knocked-Out Tooth: Step-By-Step Guide
Common causes of knocked-out teeth include falls, sports injuries, assaults, bike accidents, and vehicular accidents. Assuming your mouth is the only area that was impacted, you should:
- Locate your tooth
- Pick up the tooth by the chewing surface being careful not to touch the root
- If clean, attempt to put it back in the socket gently
- If the tooth is not clean, rinse it in water before trying to place it back in the socket
- If the tooth will not go into the socket do not force it
- Hold the tooth in the inside of your mouth near the cheek
- If the tooth is dirty put it in a glass of milk (do not soak it in tap water)
- Notify an endodontist and head to their office for immediate treatment
- Keep the tooth moist until you arrive at the endodontist
Endodontists may be able to save your tooth if you arrive for treatment within an hour of the injury. If you sustained head trauma or other injuries, go to the nearest emergency room before seeking treatment for the tooth.
How Endodontists Save Knocked-Out Teeth
As remarkable as it may seem, your endodontist may be able to save a tooth that was completely knocked out by replanting the tooth roots. They will then use what are known as splints to stabilize the tooth.
Once the tooth is replanted, over the next few weeks, the gum tissue should reattach to the tooth root. Once this is complete you will likely need to return to the endodontist to have a root canal.
A root canal is a procedure performed to remove the pulp (interior) of the tooth and to thoroughly clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth. The interior is then filled with a material called gutta-percha, and the tooth is sealed off. It will need to be protected with a dental crown.
Why Should I Try to Save a Tooth That Has Been Knocked Out?
It is always in your best interest to try to maintain your natural teeth. Although the visible portion of the tooth (crown) plays a critical role in completing your smile, chewing, speaking, and stabilizing other teeth, the tooth root is equally important.
The tooth root is what anchors the tooth to the jawbone. The jawbone provides the structure and appearance of your face. Without tooth roots to attach to, the jawbone begins to recede. Over time this can drastically change the appearance of your face, by creating a hollow, sunken mouth.
In addition, the degradation of the jawbone can lead to the destabilization of nearby teeth, putting you at greater risk of losing additional teeth. If your tooth cannot be successfully replanted after being knocked out, you should consider getting a dental implant as soon as possible. Dental implants mimic the function of a natural tooth and the tooth root.
Emergency Treatment for Knocked-Out Teeth in Forest Lake, MN
If you’ve suffered a knocked-out tooth, call our office at 651-464-9888 and notify our staff that you are on the way. For all other endodontic treatments and services, you may send us a message to request your treatment.