There are many ways that a person can lose a tooth. Tooth decay that is left untreated can cause tooth loss, children lose their initial baby teeth, or trauma to the face or mouth can knock a tooth out of place. But what happens when you lose a permanent tooth suddenly and without warning?
There are many ways in which teeth can get knocked-out. You could be a spectator at a hockey game when the puck gets shot in your direction. You could also be a player in that very same hockey game, when an opposing player gives you a hard right-hook. Maybe you were just biting into hard food, or tripped over your cat and hit your face on the counter top. Tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in your body, but that doesn’t make your teeth indestructible. Anytime your mouth comes into contact with a hard surface, you risk losing a tooth.
Saving and Preserving Your Tooth
Having your tooth knocked out is considered a dental emergency, so you’ll need to find a dentist as soon as possible for treatment; usually within 30 minutes of the injury. If this unfortunate event ever happens to you, take the following steps to avoid further damage to your mouth or to the tooth:
- Find the tooth as quickly as possible. Never leave it at the scene.
- Pick it up very carefully and avoid touching the root as it is very fragile and can get damaged easily.
- If the tooth is dirty or has debris on it, rinse it very gently with milk or water. Do not wipe the tooth off as this can cause further damage.
- Keeping the tooth moist is very important. Place it in a glass of milk, saliva, or in a glass of water if nothing else is available. Do not use hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or any other liquid than those listed above to preserve the tooth.
- You can attempt to place the tooth back into the socket, but do not force it. Make sure it is facing the right way and place it in gently.
The important thing is to keep the tooth preserved by keeping it moist until you can get to the dentist.
Repair and Replace
Your dentist will try to get your tooth placed back in the socket. After flushing the empty socket with water to rinse out debris, the tooth will be replanted. Typically, the dentist will then place a splint around the tooth to hold it in place for a few days. A root canal may also be necessary to mend the area. If there was no damage to the bone in the socket, the root will likely reattach itself within a few weeks, but complete healing can take up to eight weeks. Your dentist will reevaluate as time passes to make sure that healing is happening.
If the tooth cannot be saved, there are several dental options for tooth replacement, and your dentist can discuss these with you to find the best solution. Only your dentist can properly evaluate whether your tooth can be restored or not, but your best chance for restoration is heading to your dentist’s office right away. At Tendercare Dental, we offer Dental Implants that look and feel like your natural teeth. With eight convenient locations around the Portland area you’re sure to find an office near you to help with all your dental needs!