What to do when a tooth is knocked-out
With the weather getting warmer and spring sports beginning, it is a good time to discuss what to do when a tooth is knocked out. Each year more than 5 million teeth are knocked-out in adults and children. The medical term for a knocked-out tooth is “avulsed” tooth. With proper emergency action a permanent tooth can be re-implanted and maintained for years to come. Baby teeth, by comparison, are not re-implanted.
How to save a knocked out tooth:
- Try to handle the tooth only by the crown not the root surface. The root surface is covered in fibers that enable the tooth to reattach into the mouth.
- Reposition the tooth into the patients mouth and have them bite on gauze to hold it in place.
- If you are unable to perform the above step the tooth should be prepared for transportation by placing in a small container and covering it with milk or saliva. If no container is available it can also be placed in the mouth next to the cheek. There are also emergency tooth preservation kits, like Save-A-Tooth, that can be used for short term storage.
- In the case of an avulsed tooth time is the most important factor. Immediate treatment by a dentist in under an hour is imperative. Teeth that are not re-implanted in a timely fashion have a much worse long term prognosis. Always bring the tooth with you to the dentist.
What not to do:
- Do not clean the tooth with soap or chemicals
- Do not wipe or scrub the surface of the tooth to remove debris
- Do not dry the tooth
- Do not wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth
Dr. Argenziano has had training in all types of dental trauma. She is always available to help in a dental emergency.