We have all heard stories about kids having a permanent tooth knocked out. Then, in the excitement of the moment, we don’t take the necessary steps to save the tooth. Here are some quick guidelines to help you make the might the right decisions:
First, the amount of time the tooth is out of the mouth is the most critical factor.
Second, the way we handle the tooth while it is out of the mouth.
And third, where do we go to have it replaced?
- Amount of time the tooth is out:
Starting with time, the sooner the tooth is replaced the better for long term retention of the tooth. After 60 minutes out of the mouth in a dry environment, the chances of keeping the tooth long term is very limited.
- How to handle the tooth:
With this in mind, first we have to find the tooth and check to see if the tooth is intact and not broken. Do not wipe off the tooth and only touch the tooth by the crown, not the root surface. Place the tooth in a liquid to help maintain the tissue that is attached to the root. Never place the tooth in tap water or distilled water as this will kill the cells in a few minutes. The best mediums to place the tooth is milk. Studies show it does not matter if it is whole, skim, coconut, or almond milk. This will preserve the tooth while getting to your dentist’s office. If you are on a ball field, Gatorade or coconut water will suffice. If a single tooth is knocked out then it is best to rinse off with milk or Gatorade and immediately replace pushing the tooth up into the bone until it is level with the adjacent teeth or into the position where it was to begin with. The tooth will need to be stabilized by a dentist.
- Where to go:
Your primary dentist is the first choice to have the tooth re-implanted, however, if you are in braces then we as orthodontists can do this as well. As dentists, we know the steps necessary to re-implant the tooth with the best chance of long term retention.
Just remember, stay calm and follow these simple steps and you can increase the chances of keeping your tooth for years to come!