Losing a tooth can be scary, but trying to stay calm and knowing how to act could make all the difference to saving the tooth.
While a knocked-out tooth can't always be reattached, if it's still intact, and you can see a dentist within 30 to 60 minutes, there's a chance it could be restored.
Can a knocked out tooth be put back in?
If a permanent tooth has been knocked out, it's important to act fast if there's a chance of saving it. Here's how to improve your chances:
- Pick the tooth up the crown (the part that's normally visible in the mouth). Don't touch the pointed roots, as this can damage them.
- Check whether the tooth is still intact. If it's broken into pieces, it can't be reattached.
- If it's dirty, you can gently rinse the tooth in milk or a saline solution. Do not use plain water or scrub the tooth.
- Try to place the tooth back into your gum. This should not be done if someone is unconscious, as there's a risk of swallowing the tooth. Bite gently on soft fabric to help keep the tooth in position.
- If the tooth won't go into the gum, don't force it. Wrap it in plastic film or place it in a clean container with milk or a saline solution to keep it moist (not in water).
- Contact your dental clinic. If you can see a dentist right away, they may be able to reattach the tooth.
What about knocked out baby teeth?
The above does not apply to primary (baby) teeth. If these are put back into the gum, this can affect the development of the permanent tooth beneath. You should still see a dentist as soon as possible so they can check your child's mouth for any other damage and provide any treatments that may be needed.
What if a tooth can't be saved?
The nerves in tooth roots are very sensitive and can be damaged easily, so a dentist can't always reattach a tooth. Instead, they will recommend replacing the lost tooth as soon as possible to avoid problems such as teeth shifting into the gap. They may discuss options such as a:
Your dentist will give you all the information you need about these treatments to make an informed decision about your oral health.
How to avoid dental injuries
Accidents can always happen when we least expect, but you can lower the risk of you or your children experiencing dental injuries by protecting your teeth.
If you or your kids play sports or other outdoor activities that put your mouth at risk of impacts with equipment and players or trips and falls, wearing a custom mouth guard made by your dentist offers more protection than a generic mouth guard bought from a store.
Do you need an emergency dentist in Auckland?
If you've had an accident and you need advice or to make an emergency appointment, contact our team at St Heliers Dental Centre. Call us on (09) 575 5814 and we'll see you as soon as we can.