It happens on the football field and the baseball diamond and in the boxing ring. It happens in car accidents and in scuffles behind the high school gym. Someone’s tooth gets knocked out. Each year, more than five million teeth are knocked out of the mouths of children or adults. If the right actions are taken immediately, many of these teeth can be saved.
Immediately After the Tooth is Lost
Find the tooth! When you find it, only touch it by the crown – the white, bony part. Don’t try to wipe it off because the tissue remaining on the roots of the tooth will be needed when the tooth is replanted in its socket.
Then make a beeline for either a glass of milk or glass of salt water. Not plain water because it does not provide the right environment to keep tissues on the root alive.
What to Do Next
Now you need to get yourself to a dentist to replant this missing tooth in its socket. Returning the tooth to its home within an hour offers the best chance of success. But even if it’s longer, go! Dentists understand that a traumatic loss of a tooth is a true emergency and if there’s any possibility, they will fit you in.
Once the tooth has been replanted, it will be splinted by wiring or bonding the adjacent teeth together. The traumatized tooth needs support until the damaged tissues heal.
Traumatized Roots and Jawbones
When teeth are knocked out, it’s important to realize that the adjacent teeth can also be damaged. Roots or the supporting jawbones can suffer fractures, softer supporting tissues may be traumatized. And of course, teeth may be visibly chipped by the trauma. Only your dentist can diagnose more subtle or hidden problems and work out an approach to saving the affected teeth.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Before teeth are ever knocked out, it’s important to realize there are ways to prevent these injuries. One of the most important is the use of mouthguards during sports activities. The best and most protective mouthguards are those custom-made for your child (or you) by your dentist. They stay in place the best and offer the best protection. When the user is done with a mouthguard for the day, it should be scrubbed with toothpaste and a soft bristle toothbrush and stored properly to keep it clean.
Children should be taught to not run with objects like popsicles or toys in their mouths. Eating in a moving car can also present dangers if there are any skewers, supporting sticks (like on lollipops) or straws used. This is especially true if the child sits in a seat equipped with an airbag.
Choosing a Dentist to Repair Lost Teeth
If you or someone you care about loses a tooth to trauma, contact Dr. Virginia Lee immediately. Her many years of oral and facial surgery training and experience qualify her to provide the care you need to repair teeth lost to trauma. She is also expert in addressing other facial or oral injuries. If another specialist is needed to care for soft tissue or teeth, Dr. Lee knows the exact practitioner to contact for your best experience and healing.
When it comes to dentistry, the better the practitioner, the more likely it is there will be little pain and few complications. Think of Dr. Lee immediately if someone you care about experiences the loss of one of their teeth. Call Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center in Washington D.C. at 202-296-6600 today.