Can you save a knocked out tooth?

There are moments in life that we just can't predict. For most of us, having a tooth knocked out is one of those times. It can result from a trip on the sidewalk, a collision while playing sports, or maybe even a glass door that you didn't notice was closed! However it happens, it's important that you properly care for a tooth once it has been knocked out. Depending on the circumstances, your dentist may be able to use your real tooth, but there are some steps you should follow: 

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

Handle the tooth gently

Be sure that you pick up the tooth by the crown (that's the top—the part you see every day). You want to do as little damage as possible to the roots in order to have the best chances of getting the tooth put back in its place. That is why it is so important to gently pick up the tooth by the chewing surface and not touch the roots. As soon as the tooth is knocked out, locate it quickly and begin the process of preserving it. 

If the tooth has dirt on it, then you can rinse with water very carefully. Don't use any soaps or try to scrub and dry the tooth. Handle it as little as possible and don't wrap it in tissue or paper towels. Teeth should not be out of the mouth for more than an hour and it is important that they are kept moist.

Put the tooth back in its socket

The best way to keep the tooth moist is to reposition it back into its original socket if you are able to. Carefully use your fingers to push the tooth in. You can hold the tooth in place by carefully biting down. Or if that doesn't work for you then you can use your fingers to keep it in place. 

If you are not able to put the tooth back in the socket, you must still find a way to keep it moist. There are kits you can buy over the counter that help with emergency situations that require tooth preservation, or you can put the tooth in milk. You can also put the tooth back in your mouth and hold it beside your checks. Be sure that you do not place the tooth in water. 

Immediately go see your dentist

You'll want to go see your dentist within thirty minutes of losing your tooth. Sometimes you can go a little longer, but a half an hour will give you the best chances of being able to successfully replace it. Your dentist will check the rest of your teeth to make sure there wasn't any other damage done, and then work to replace the tooth.

Millions of teeth get knocked out every year because of accidents and sports related occurrences. If this happens to you, be sure that you properly care for the tooth immediately so your dentist has the best chance to replace it. This will ensure that you get your natural and bright smile back.

These tips are only for a tooth that has been knocked out completely. If you've chipped a tooth, you'll still want to head to the dentist as soon as you can, but saving the piece (or pieces) of the crown that was chipped off will not be as crucial!


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