Before we go any further, know this: Yes, a knocked-out tooth can be saved as long as it gets the right care and treatment.
Emergency dental needs – such as a knocked-out tooth – can happen when you least expect it. Sometimes it is the result of a car accident or a sports injury. Other times a tooth can be knocked out due to a fight or just a freak accident, like tripping over your own two feet. However your tooth gets knocked out, you have to remain calm and follow a few key steps so you can save it.
Steps to Save Your Knocked-Out Tooth
Ok, the situation happened (whatever the situation was) and you are now missing a tooth. What do you do? First, remain calm and then follow these steps.
Find the missing tooth: It may feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but you are going to need to find your tooth if you want to save it. Once you find it, pick it up with the crown of the tooth only. In other words, by the enamel. Do not touch the roots of the tooth or you will cause more harm to it.
Place it back in your socket: Yes, you read that right. You are going to place the knocked out tooth back into its socket. If it fell in dirt or if there is debris from the accident on the tooth, rinse it off with milk. Do not wipe it off with any type of paper towel or fabric. Simply rinse, if needed, and put it back in the socket.
Keep the tooth moist: If you are unable to put the tooth back into its socket, you will want to keep it moist at all times. The preferable response is to place your tooth in a glass of milk, but, since milk is not always available, place it in a cup with saline solution, water, or your saliva. Anything you have to keep it as moist as you can will give you the greatest chance at saving the tooth.
Call your endodontist: Call your endodontist and await further instruction. The timeframe for saving a knocked out tooth is rather small, so be sure to do this immediately. Ideally you want to be in that dental chair within an hour of the incident.
What to Expect At Your Endodontist
Upon arrival at your endodontist’s office, you should be seen rather quickly as time is of the essence in these situations. An examination will commence to determine just how bad the damage is and whether or not saving the tooth is a possibility.
If possible, the tooth may be held in place with wire splints attached to the adjacent teeth. After several weeks – or longer- your endodontist will remove the wires once he or she is confident the roots have had time to develop.
When a Tooth Can’t Be Saved
Sometimes a knocked out tooth just cannot be saved. If it is in multiple pieces or if it isn’t in good shape from the trauma, you may have to consider an alternative tooth, such as a dental implant so you can retain your smile. In the meantime, the endodontist will perform a root canal treatment to remove any dirt, debris, decay, or infection.
If you have a tooth that has been knocked out and you are trying to save it, act fast. The experts at North Shore & Brookline Endodontics have six convenient office locations for your convenience – especially in emergency situations. Contact us today.