Losing a tooth due to injury happens more often than you may think. Children aren’t the only ones who sustain injury resulting in lost teeth. Adults are also prone to dental injuries, especially if they participate in sports. But even something as missing a step on the stairs can lead to knocking your teeth out. While it’s true that some teeth can’t be saved, many others can be. This is why you need to know what to do if you accidentally knock out your tooth. A few fast actions can make all the difference between losing and keeping your damaged tooth.
Seek Medical Treatment
Knocking out your teeth is a medical emergency, so you need to seek immediate medical attention. If there is excessive bleeding from your mouth, contact 911. Unless you were somehow hit directly on the damaged or missing tooth in question, you may have other serious injuries to tend to. If you didn’t sustain a severe injury, you still need to contact your dentist or head to the nearest hospital for evaluation. The odds are that you at least have a mild concussion that will need to be tended to by a professional doctor.
Find the Tooth
When it comes to preserving a knocked-out tooth, it’s a race against time. If you can find the tooth, carefully pick it up by the crown, not the root. Touching the roots will contaminate it and possibly lead to infection if reinserted. Note, if the tooth or teeth are shattered, pick up as many pieces as you can find. Although not always possible, some teeth can be repaired and reimplanted. Of course, in a worst case scenario, you can rest easy knowing that your tooth can also be replaced with a very realistic replica that will look and function just like a real tooth.
Gently Clean the Tooth
If the tooth or teeth are dirty, gently brush off as much dirt as you can without disturbing the root. Use warm water to rinse the tooth and fragments. Do not use soap or another type of cleaning agent. You also need to keep the tooth as moist as possible. If implanting it back into your mouth is possible, gently put it back into the empty socket. You can then use a piece of clean gauze to hold it in place while en route to the dentist or hospital. If it is not possible to fit it back into your mouth in a neat manner, the best option is to find some milk or other fatty liquid that you can put the tooth in until you are able to get it to an emergency dentist. It’s important that the roots are kept moist and viable.
Treat Your Symptoms
If you weren’t seriously injured outside of your tooth, you should still take an anti-inflammatory to reduce pain. You should also use an ice pack to minimize any swelling, which is usually worse the day after the initial injury. While adding heat to an injury can help with healing, it is important that you don’t do that for the first 24 hours while the blood is clotting. However, in the case of a tooth being knocked out, you actually don’t want the blood to clot just yet. Gentle heat may be helpful in preventing the wound from settling too early for treatment to replant the tooth.
Replacing knocked-out teeth is possible, if you act quickly. Follow the above-mentioned steps but most importantly, seek medical treatment. If you know of an emergency dentist ahead of time, you may consult with them for professionally recommended actions to save your tooth and know exactly where to go in an emergency.