What To Do If A Tooth Is Knocked Out

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Dental avulsion is described as a complete displacement of a tooth from its socket in the alveolar bone, and it is one of the most traumatic dental injuries that originates exposure of the cells of the periodontal ligament to the external environment as well as disruption of the blood supply to the pulp. Read more about dental avulsion here.

Accidents and unexpected events can occur in our daily lives. As a result, even our teeth are not exempt from accidental trauma.

These accidents can happen in a variety of ways. Most commonly, these accidents are as follows:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Traffic accidents
  • Eating something hard
  • Job-related injuries
  • Assaults

Underlying medical problems such as the following can make losing a tooth more likely in the event of an accident:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • HIV
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone disease
  • Teeth misalignment
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Certain medications (read the medication label carefully)

If your tooth ever gets knocked out, there are certain precautions you should take immediately after losing the tooth. Follow these instructions:

  • Stay calm. Staying calm can be easier said than done when faced with sudden trauma. However, staying calm to keep your heart rate and blood pressure down is crucial. Staying calm will also keep your head clear as you must execute the following steps to ensure your tooth’s recovery and restoration are successful.
  • Find the tooth. Again, this step may be easier said than done. When an accident occurs with the force to knock a tooth out, the tooth can be thrown clear of the scene. Once you locate the tooth, there is a proper way to handle it. Handle the tooth from the crown (top) of the tooth. The roots (bottom) of the tooth attach to the bone and go below the gumline. Inspect the tooth on the crown and root and ensure no part is missing or fractured.
  • Stopping the bleeding. You can first rinse your mouth gently with a mild salt water solution. Do not swish the water around hard and create pressure. Next, gently apply pressure to the bleeding site using a sterile cotton ball. You may have to hold the cotton ball in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse the tooth. Remember to hold the tooth from the crown and rinse it gently in water or with milk. If you use a saline solution, make sure it is sterile. Do not try to scrub, wipe, or brush the tooth. Scratches can etch the tooth or damage the more delicate parts of the root.
  • Reinsert the tooth. Gently reinsert the tooth back into the socket. Place a sterile gauze on top of the tooth and gently bite down. If the tooth will not go in, do not force it. Gums or surrounding teeth could be damaged, too, so attempting to force the tooth back in can create further damage. 
  • Preserve the tooth. If you can not reinsert the tooth, you must adequately preserve it for your dentist. Keep the tooth moist, but not with tap water. Milk or a saline solution are great sources to keep a dislodged tooth moist. Another anecdote is to place the tooth between your cheek and gum line to keep it moist.
  • Call the dentist. The sooner you talk to your dentist, the better. Your dentist can best evaluate your treatment. You will increase the chances of saving your tooth by getting to the dentist as quickly as possible. Ideally, you should get to a dentist within 30 minutes. If it is impossible to get to a dentist within 30 minutes, you should ensure the tooth is kept moist, as outlined above.

Creating a Dental Splint

Once you have secured the tooth and called the dentist, there are many solutions to saving a tooth. 

After you arrive at the dentist’s office, the dentist will examine your mouth. 

This exam will include X-rays. Even if the tooth has been put back in the socket, X-rays ensure it is properly aligned. X-rays also allow the dentist to see if there is any damage to the bone. 

In the event the tooth is not in the correct position, dental splinting may be necessary. Dental splinting anchors the loose tooth to adjacent, well-attached teeth. The single unit that dental splinting creates allows the dislodged tooth to restabilize.

One of the two following materials can be used to splint a knocked-out tooth:

  1. A wire and dental glue are used to anchor the knocked-out tooth to surrounding stable teeth. The dental glue is a composite material similar to what is used to fill a tooth.
  2. A clear retainer can also be worn to stabilize the knocked-out tooth. Typically, the retainer would be worn for about two weeks.

Solutions Other Than Dental Splinting

Cosmetic solutions are available if your knocked-out tooth can not be found or damaged beyond saving. These solutions include:

  • Fixed bridge. A fixed bridge can be used in the event several teeth are missing. False teeth are created and anchored to adjacent healthy teeth. The fixed bridge is removable for cleaning.
  • Flipper. A flipper is a single tooth anchored to a stable tooth. The false tooth is created from zirconia. A flipper is also removable for cleaning.
  • Ball attachment denture. A ball attachment denture replaces several missing teeth. Metal bars are attached to the gums. The denture snapped into attached metal bars.
  • Individual implants. A single implant is inserted to replace a knocked-out tooth. The implant would require a post inserted into the jawbone. A crown is then placed on top of the post for aesthetic purposes.

Regardless of the treatment plan necessary, the dentist must replace a knocked-out tooth. Neglecting to do so will harm other teeth in your mouth. Replacing the tooth will prevent further dental complications in the future.

Ideally, contact Whiteridge Aesthetic Dentistry right away to arrange the fastest treatment for a knocked-out tooth.

Serving the Salt Lake Valley, Cottonwood Heights, Mill Creek, Park City, Summit County, Elko, Nevada, West Wendover, Nevada, and Evanston, Wyoming