Getting a permanent tooth knocked out is a dental emergency and one that is not uncommon. More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year.
When this happens, your tooth needs immediate attention. Do not wait until morning or the next day to deal with it. In fact, the longer you wait, the less likely it is that your dentist will be able to reattach your tooth. Your best bet is to contact a dentist with experience handling dental emergencies, such as the team of dentists at Sterling Dental Clinic.
Even before reaching our office, you must follow specific steps.
Rescue your tooth
Don’t leave your tooth lying around. Pick it up by the crown (the place where you chew) and never the root (the place where it attaches to your gum). Touching the root can damage it, making it more difficult for the dentist to reattach the tooth successfully.
Rinse your tooth
If your tooth is knocked out and lands on the ground, rinse it, so it’s free of dirt and debris. Only use water, not soap. Don’t dry it or rub it with a washcloth or towel.
Place the tooth back in the socket, if possible
If possible, gently place the knocked-out tooth back in its rightful place. But only do this if it goes back quickly. Don’t force it into the socket. Hold the tooth in place by biting down on it gently or holding it in place with your fingers.
Keep your tooth moist until you get to the dentist
If you can’t place your tooth back in its socket, you need to keep the tooth moist until you get to the dentist. You can do this by holding it between your cheek and gum or placing it in a cup of milk if you have it in your refrigerator. If milk is not available, you can also keep it moist with saliva. Don’t use tap water.
How to avoid getting your tooth knocked out
There are simple precautions you can take to reduce your risk of getting your tooth knocked out, chipped, or fractured. Aside from walking away from a fight, tips for preserving your teeth and smile include:
- Make a mouth-guard part of your regular sports uniform, especially contact sports
- Don’t bite down or chewing on hard foods such as candy, ice, or un-popped popcorn kernels
- Don’t use your teeth to open packages
- Practice good oral hygiene habits to keep your teeth strong and healthy
For more information on what to do if your tooth is knocked out or about other dental emergencies, connect with Sterling Dental Clinic.