Dentist Recommended Steps to Saving a Tooth in a Dental Emergency
Let’s first qualify a dental emergency. The most common emergencies that come through our Burtonsville Dentist office are broken teeth, and sports injuries or accidents resulting in a severely broken or missing tooth. This is a time of heightened emotion where you are in panic mode trying to determine the best course of action.
There’s still a chance for you to save your tooth. You can have it replanted back to the gums, where it will remain useful for the years to come. By acting fast and knowing the right steps to saving a knocked-out or broken tooth.
A tooth can become dislodged for a number of reasons. It can be due to an injury that made your mouth or teeth come into contact with a hard surface. It can be due to eating food that’s too hard or tough for your tooth to handle. It can be because you’re using your teeth as a “tool,” such as to open a bottle or to open a bag of chips instead of using an opener or a pair of scissors.
While such incidents are quite common (with millions of teeth getting knocked out among adults and children in the U.S. on a yearly basis), a knocked-out tooth should still be taken seriously and addressed with immediate care. Even if the result of trauma is “just” a crack or a chip, the resulting openings can lead to bacterial growth which can easily lead to tooth decay and infection.
Immediate action is helpful if the tooth becomes completely dislodged out of its socket. However, there is still an opportunity to save that tooth.
Extend the life of your tooth with the following steps:
- Bring your tooth to the Laurel, MD dentist nearest you. The ideal scenario is to get to the clinic within 30 minutes of the incident.
- While preparing the tooth for your Dentist, make sure you are handling the crown and not the root.
- If it landed on the ground or anywhere dirty, rinse it out gently with clean, cold tap or bottled water. Never use soap, toothpaste or any chemicals. Don’t rub or brush; just let the water rinse the foreign particles off.
- While the tooth is still a bit wet, try to reinsert it into the socket. Using a careful but firm hold, replace the tooth into the socket or just above it.
- Very carefully, close your mouth while gently biting down on the tooth to guide it in position.
Sometimes it’s not possible to place the tooth back into the socket. If this is the case, do not let the tooth, especially the root, dry out. To keep the tooth moist and keep the living cells alive for longer, you have the following options:
- Put the tooth in milk, in a covered container that you can take to the dentist.
- Put the tooth in the mouth, ideally between the gum and side of the cheek to keep it stable and wet with saliva.
- Spit some saliva into a container and put the teeth into the liquid.
- Do not store the tooth in tap water or wrap it in a dry cloth or cotton.
We realize losing a toot is not a pleasant situation. In fact it can be quite scary. However, do you best to remain calm, and call your Dentist immediately for an Emergency Dental Visit. Most Dentists will leave a few openings on their schedule each day in order to be available for these types of situations.