During the summer, most of us are more active, playing sports, riding bikes, and having fun. But any sports or other physical activity can come with physical dangers that include being hit in the face and knocking out a tool.
Oral injuries can really hurt. But with proper care, these injuries can be repaired, and you can be back outside enjoying the summertime.
This article will tell you what to do if you’ve had an injury and dislodged a tooth.
Can This Tooth Be Saved?
If you’ve knocked out a tooth, the first thing is to get to a dentist immediately. The nerves and blood vessels around the tooth are typically damaged as part of the injury. These typically cannot be repaired. This requires that any tooth that has been avulsed or knocked out, have a root canal.
If the tooth has been knocked out on a child, the chances are higher that we can save it. But adult teeth can also be saved. Of course, we only re-implant the permanent teeth, not baby teeth.
Here are the steps to take if your tooth has been knocked out:
- Carefully handle the tooth and try not to touch the root, which is the pointed part that lies under the gum.
- Don’t wipe the tooth with a cloth. If the tooth has blood or debris on it, wash it with milk, if you have it, or water.
- If the tooth is broken in pieces, you should still keep it moist, which we’ll describe in the next steps.
- Keep the tooth moist by dropping it gently into a glass of milk. You can also place the tooth in your own mouth, between the cheek gums. Small children will not be able to do this safely, so keep the tooth moist by placing it in a cup of milk or water.
- You may be able to slip the tooth right back into the socket. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Don’t force this; if it doesn’t go right back in, just gently try to fit it where it came from.
Next, call your dentist right away for an emergency visit to re-implant the tooth.
What to Expect at the Dentist
Sometimes it’s very easy to put the tooth right back in. But if the tooth or bone is broken, it gets a bit more complicated. Your dentist will flush debris from the socket and slip the tooth back in place. The implantation should happen no more than an hour after the incident in order to increase your chances for success.
After putting the tooth back in place, a root canal may occur, or the tooth may just be splinted in place, held securely to the teeth on either side. The dentist will determine when the splint should be removed. If the bone wasn’t fractured, the tooth should bond into the socket in a month or so. Usually, the dentist will need to check on your progress in a few months.