When you lose a tooth, it’s critical that you receive appropriate dental care as soon as possible to avoid infection and so your dentist can possibly save your smile. If you act quickly, the tooth may be successfully re-implanted.
Here’s what to do if a permanent (adult) tooth is knocked out:
Handle the tooth by the top (crown) only, and not by the roots. This is the chewing edge.
Don’t rub on the tooth or scrape it to remove any material that might be on it – you could lose vital tissue.
Gently rinse the tooth in a bowl of water, but don’t hold it under running water.
Try to replace the tooth in the socket. To help keep it in place, bite down gently on a piece of gauze or a moistened tea bag. This will also help control bleeding. If you can’t replace the tooth in the socket immediately, tuck it between your gum and the cheek. Take caution not to swallow it. If you can’t hold the tooth in your mouth, place it in a container of your own saliva, whole milk or a sterile saline solution. If you don’t have any saline, you can make your own using a ratio of 1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 quart of water. Placing it in water should be a last resort, because it doesn’t preserve the tooth as well, which can make it more difficult to re-implant.
Get to a dentist immediately. If a dentist isn’t available, go to a hospital emergency room. The longer you wait, the less chance there is for your dentist to fix it. The critical period is one hour.
If your tooth is badly broken, your nerve endings may be exposed. You will need immediate dental care to avoid infection and escalating pain.
If you cannot close your upper and lower teeth together, your jaw may be broken. This requires immediate medical help at a dentist or hospital.
If your tooth did not fall out entirely, but is loose, you’ll still need to see your dentist ASAP. This reduces the risk that the tooth will die or fall out eventually.
A chipped or broken tooth does not require an emergency room visit. We recommend repairing it to avoid sharp edges that can cut the lips or tongue and other teeth with which it comes in contact.
If your tooth cannot be saved or you have missing teeth for some time, you have several options for replacement. Bridges and implants are two of the more common choices. Contact Dr. Arhiri at 610-647-7611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary examination appointment to discuss your options.