An Introduction to Cosmetic Dentistry: Facts, Questions and More

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Knocked a Tooth Out? Here's How to Save It

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If you have an unfortunate accident that results in a tooth being knocked out, you will probably be hurriedly asking yourself: "Where is the nearest dentist near me?" While you're sourcing an emergency dentist near you, you also need to take steps to preserve the tooth in order to maximise the chance of a successful reattachment. So what do you need to do to save your tooth and save your smile?

Protecting the Root

It's far more likely that the tooth can be reattached if the root (the nerves at the base of the tooth) is relatively undamaged. Locate the tooth and try to pick it up from the top—never from the base—to keep the root from being further damaged. Depending on where the tooth ended up after the accident, it might need to be rinsed.

Rinse the Tooth

Gently rinse the tooth under water. Use only a low-pressure stream of water. You don't want the tooth to be accidentally knocked from your grasp and washed down the drain. Do not use soap or any other cleansers as this might damage the root. Do not dry the tooth—this abrasive action can also damage the root.

Put It Back into Place

If possible, slot the tooth back into position. The sooner the root is put back into position with its nerves touching the connective tissues in your gums, the more likely it is that a permanent reattachment can take place. Hold the tooth in place with your finger (wash your hands first) or by biting gently on it. This is not a practical position for the long-term, so you will need to see an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Put It in Milk

If you are not able to slot the tooth back into position, place it in a small sealable container, cover it with whole milk, and then tightly attach the container's lid. Water would cause the root to dry out and die, but the composition of milk keeps the tooth (and root) hydrated for longer. You still need to see an emergency dentist immediately. If you do not have any milk, place the rinsed tooth inside your cheek and keep it there until you can see a dentist. Take care not to swallow the tooth.

If the accident should take place out of hours and you are not able to find a dentist who can see you, you should visit the emergency department of your local hospital. Time is of the essence when it comes to saving a tooth and the hospital might be able to take action that will preserve the tooth until you can see a dentist.

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