Knocking out a whole tooth, including the root, is your worst nightmare, yet it's a relatively common occurrence. You might lose a tooth whilst playing sport, as the result of an accident or even through eating something extremely sticky like toffee.
Reassuringly, a lost tooth can be successfully replanted if you act quickly. So, what can you do to salvage a knocked-out tooth? Read on to find out more.
The following steps should be followed if you can reposition the tooth in its socket.
- Pick the tooth up by the top surface, not by the root. Handle the tooth very carefully and try not to touch the root at all. This reduces the risk of damage and prevents infection.
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse it very carefully and gently, using clean, warm water. Don't try to clean the tooth by scrubbing it with a toothbrush or by using soap or other cleaning products that contain chemicals.
- Do not dry the tooth or wrap it up in anything.
- The more quickly you can replace the tooth in its rightful home, the more likely it is to survive. In order to give your tooth the best chance, reinsert it into the socket. Gently push the tooth back into the socket with your fingers, and then close your mouth slowly. Carefully bite down on the tooth to secure it into place.
- Make an emergency appointment to see your dentist immediately. The sooner your dentist can treat you, the more likely it is that your tooth will be salvageable.
If you can't reposition your knocked-out tooth in its socket, take the following action instead.
- Follow steps numbers 1 through 3 above.
- It's important that the tooth isn't allowed to dry out completely as this will damage the root. Take a small container with a sealable lid and place the tooth carefully inside it. Put enough milk in the container to just cover the tooth. Don't use tap water as this will damage the cells on the surface of the root.
- If you don't have a suitable container in which to place the tooth, put it into your mouth and keep it next to your cheek. This will keep it moist and safe until you can get to see the dentist.
If you knock out a tooth, don't panic! Follow the guidelines above to salvage your tooth and make sure you get to see your dentist as soon as possible. The quicker you get to see the dentist, the more likely it is that your tooth will be saved.