According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), 5 million-plus teeth are knocked out every year.
Contact sports and car accidents are among the most frequent causes of knocked-out teeth. Other events that may result in a tooth being knocked out include playground accidents, fights, bicycle or motorcycle wrecks, or falls of any kind. Advanced gum disease and something as normal as eating a hard or sticky candy can also cause a permanent tooth to fall out.
In medical terms, a knocked out tooth is referred to as “avulsed” and means complete dislodgment of a tooth from its socket. It doesn’t, however, mean that the tooth is permanently lost. There are several ways you can save a knocked-out tooth even after an injury or accident.
When your tooth is broken, cracked, or knocked-out, follow these tips to increase the chances of your Palo Alto dentist saving it.
Steps to follow if your tooth gets knocked out
Step 1: Locate the tooth immediately
Locate the tooth right away – the moment you detect it is missing. Don’t leave it at the accident scene.
Pick up the knocked-out tooth by the crown, being cautious not to touch the root since the root can be easily damaged. The crown is the tooth’s chewing surface, while the root is the bottom part under the gum.
Step 2: Rinse the tooth
Rinse the teeth gently with saline water or milk while still holding it by the crown. If you don’t have either, clean water will suffice.
Do not dry, scrub, or wipe the tooth or attempt to get rid of any fleshy parts. Also, avoid wrapping the tooth with a cloth or tissue at any time.
Step 3: Gently put the tooth back in its socket
Try to gently reposition the clean tooth in the empty socket right away to improve the chances of having the nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments reattach and heal.
Use your fingers to push the tooth while still holding the crown. Close the mouth slowly and now hold the teeth gently by biting down.
Step 4: Keep the tooth moist
If you are having problems repositioning the tooth, don’t force it. Rather, preserve it in safe, PH-balanced liquid until you get to a dentist near you. Safe liquids include saliva, saline solution, and cold milk.
Milk is highly preferred because it is easily available and contains growth factors. Also, the fluid pressure and PH of the milk is conducive to that of the cells in the roots of the tooth. This minimizes the chance of damage to the tooth.
Step 5: See a dentist as soon as possible
To improve your chances of saving the tooth, visit a dentist as soon as possible. The American Association of Endodontists recommends seeing a dentist within 30 minutes. There are many family dentists in Palo Alto, so seeing one closest to you after an accident is worth the effort.
What do top dentists in Palo Alto do in the case of a knocked-out tooth?
You have a higher likelihood of successfully reattaching your tooth if you arrive at the dentist in time and when the tooth is whole.
Your dentist will employ one of the following methods:
- Splint: In this treatment option, the dentist uses a small splint to secure the tooth to its neighbor. Your tooth will regrow its roots over time. It takes around three months for the tooth to re-establish its root in the jawbone.
- Root canal: In this procedure, your Palo Alto dentist will extract the nerve of the tooth to preserve its viability.
What options do you have if your tooth cannot be saved?
When a tooth is severely cracked or too much time has elapsed since it got knocked out, chances are you will not be able to save it. In that case, your dentist will have to replace it, either with:
- A bridge: A dental device consisting of one or more false teeth made from porcelain or resin replaces the missing natural teeth.
- An implant: A dental implant is a metal screw that replaces a tooth root. It acts as an anchor for artificial teeth such as bridges, crowns, and dentures.
- A denture: Artificial teeth custom-made by your dentist to replace removed or lost natural teeth.
Treatment for knocked-out teeth is possible, particularly if you act fast and follow the first aid tips listed above. And if the teeth can’t be saved, there are other treatment options for restoring a lost tooth, as you have seen above.
Remember, though, none of these measures will help a tooth that has been lost due to gum disease. So, ensure that you visit your Palo Alto dentist for regular checkups to avoid serious gum diseases.
At Cambridge Dental Studio, Dr. Alex Yen & Dr Jessica Sheu are both known for their gentle touch, their steady hands, and their calm and comforting demeanors that put our patients at ease. There is no dental fear that they have not experienced and they are very diligent about explaining the procedures so you know exactly what to expect!
Information in this article has been gathered from multiple public health sources, including: