Losing a tooth due to trauma is a dental emergency. Our Nanaimo dentists explain what you should do in this scenario to give yourself the best chances of saving the tooth.
What causes knocked-out teeth?
Knocked-out or avulsed teeth are commonly the result of an impact to the jaw or face.
If you are dealing with knocked-out teeth, take the following steps:
1. Locate and pick up the tooth by the crown (don’t touch the root).
Immediately after you lose your tooth, attempt to retrieve it. Carefully pick the tooth up by the crown (the part exposed above the gum line when it is in your mouth).
2. Gently rinse the tooth with water if it’s dirty.
Use only water to rinse any debris or dirt from the tooth. Avoid using chemicals or soap. Do not scrub or dry the tooth, or wrap it in cloth or tissue, as any of these actions may result in damage.
3. If possible, place the tooth back in the socket.
Try putting the tooth back in its socket right away. You can try to gently push it in (continuing to touch the crown only, not the root). Another option is to try positioning it above the socket.
Close your mouth slowly to push it in. Using a finger, hold the tooth in place. You might also bite down on it.
4. Keep the tooth moist.
If you’re unable to place the tooth back in its socket, it must be kept moist until you get to the dentist. Place it in a cup of milk, or keep it in your mouth next to your cheek. Avoid storing it in regular tap water, as the root surface cells will not be able to tolerate water for an extended period.
Using this method of preserving a tooth may increase the likelihood of your dentist being able to save it.
5. Within 30 minutes of the injury, get to your dentist’s office.
Ideally, you should go to your dentist’s office within 30 minutes of losing any teeth. However, it may still be possible for your dentist to save a tooth if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more.
How can I prepare for a dental emergency at home?
Dental emergencies can happen any time of the day or night. There are some things you can do at home to prepare in case you experience one.
Keep these things around the house at all times, as they are handy to have in a dental emergency:
- Over-the-counter painkiller (such as ibuprofen)
- Ice pack
- Small container with a lid to preserve a knocked-out tooth
- The phone number of our Nanaimo dentist’s office
Type "dentist near me" into your favourite search engine, and our information will likely come up. As soon as you feel safe and can call our office, do so. We will make room in our schedule to see you as soon as possible.