Even with diligent preventative dental care, you might suffer an accident, such as a blow to the face, that could cause a tooth to fall out of your mouth. Tooth loss can lead to many oral health complications. But if you lose a tooth, you have a narrow window where your dentist might be able to place it back into your mouth.
You will need to act urgently if this occurs. And you can make more efficient and swift decisions when you know what to do ahead of this dental emergency. Check out these steps you should take in order to maximize your chances of restoring a knocked-out tooth back in your smile.
Preserve the Knocked-Out Tooth
When a tooth falls out of its socket, it immediately loses its connection to the blood vessels that keep it healthy and connected to the rest of the body. Without these links, the tooth will quickly begin to deteriorate. And this means it will be less likely to be restored to your smile.
You should take action to preserve the tooth right away. Make sure you handle the tooth by its crown rather than its sensitive root. Otherwise, you could risk harming the tooth further.
Do not use a cloth or other material to rub at the tooth if it seems dirty. Instead, carefully rinse it with milk if possible. Water will work as an alternative rinsing solution.
Try gently placing the back in its socket. Your saliva will keep the tooth moist and healthy for as long as possible. Do not force it into this place in your mouth. You can also consider tucking the tooth into the cheek for a similar effect.
If you worry about swallowing the tooth, you can store the tooth in a cup submerged in spit. You might also keep it in a cup filled with milk, though water will do if milk is unavailable. Milk works better than water at preserving a tooth because it contains more nutrients that can ensure the tooth stays healthy for longer.
Attend Urgent Dental Appointment
Time is of the essence when it comes to saving a knocked-out tooth. To maximize your chance of restoring the tooth to your mouth, call or visit your dentist’s office within an hour of losing the tooth.
During the emergency dental appointment, the dentist will first examine the tooth and the rest of your smile for signs of additional injury. Then they will put the tooth back in the socket and keep it in place with a splint.
The tooth should reattach itself with this assistance within a few weeks. If the tooth sustained a fracture, you may require more time to heal completely. Attend follow-up appointments as your dentist recommends to ensure proper recovery.
If your dentist cannot place the tooth back in your smile successfully, you can discuss tooth replacement treatments like dental implants with your dentist. Do not ignore this injury or you could see further oral health problems.