What to do if you knock a tooth out in an accident
Accidents do happen – and without proper protection, teeth can be just as susceptible to damage as the rest of our body. Cracks, chips and tooth loss are all possible outcomes from knocks and falls during sport or everyday accidents.
In some cases, teeth can be put back in place and with this in mind we have put together some tips and advice to help you act quickly in the event of accidental tooth loss.
1. Recovery of the tooth
It is extremely important that you pick the tooth up by the crown and avoid touching the root as this area is very sensitive and can be damaged by touch.
If the tooth is covered in dirt or blood you can quickly rinse it with water. Do not scrape it away with your hands or use any alcohol based cleaning solutions.
2. Visit an emergency dentist within an hour of the accident
Once a tooth is knocked out it has a very small window to be replanted into the gum. A tooth that is exposed to dry air for more than about ten to fifteen minutes can begin to die off meaning it will not be able to be reimplanted. To reduce these effects, you can carry the tooth to the dentist in the following ways:
- Place the tooth in your mouth
Your mouth and natural saliva will help to protect your tooth from dying before it can have the chance to be reimplanted. The best placement in your mouth is either the injury site where the tooth fell out, under the tongue or between your bottom lip and gum
- Place the tooth in milk
Milk contains the correct fluid balance to keep a tooth root alive while travelling to the dentist. Water should never be used to preserve a tooth as it encourages swelling of the root which will lead to a dead tooth.
If you are unable to see a dentist within the hour, head to your nearest emergency room
3. Mouth management
After the tooth has been recovered, you can apply an ice pack to the injured areas to reduce pain and swelling of the area. Bleeding of the wound can be managed by applying direct pressure using gauze.
Once you have been seen by the dentist they will be able to assess the injury and whether the tooth will need to be replaced or reimplanted.
Unfortunately, not all knocked out teeth can be reimplanted. Damage can be too severe or the tooth may have died in transit. However, this does not mean you will have to live with a large gap in your smile. Dental implants are a permanent and comfortable tooth replacement solution. They replace the whole tooth including the root, meaning long term damage and discomfort can be prevented.