Teeth are incredibly strong, but they can get knocked out. It’s important to know that getting a permanent tooth knocked out — whether in a fight, a recreational activity, or just a terrible mishap — is a dental emergency and should be treated as such. More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year.
Getting a tooth knocked out requires immediate attention. Avoid waiting until morning or the next day to deal with it. Teeth are living tissue. Waiting makes successful reattachment less possible. Your best bet is to get to a dentist or emergency department within the first hour of losing a tooth. The sooner, the better.
At A Caring Dental Group in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Benedict Kim is a highly skilled emergency dentist equipped to provide emergency dental care in the event of an unexpected dental issue.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to save your tooth. The goal is to increase the chances of reattachment and possibly avoid the need for a crown, dental implant or bridge. After contacting us, here’s what you should do to increase your chances of keeping your tooth when it gets knocked out.
Locate the tooth
Don’t leave your tooth lying around. Once you locate the tooth, take care to pick it up by the crown (the place where you chew) and avoid handling it by the root (the place where it attaches to your gum). Touching the root can cause damage, making it more difficult for Dr. Kim to successfully reattach the tooth.
Clean the tooth
If your tooth gets knocked out and lands on the ground, quickly rinse it under warm water to flush away dirt and debris. Avoid using soap and stick to water only. Avoid drying it or rubbing it with a washcloth or towel.
Try returning the tooth to the socket
Because the socket provides blood supply and teeth are living tissue, it’s best to try to return the knocked-out tooth back to its rightful place. But only do this if it goes back easily. Avoid forcing it into the socket. Instead, hold the tooth in place by biting down on it gently or holding it in place with your fingers.
Keep the tooth moist until you reach the dentist
If the tooth won’t fit back into its socket, it’s important to keep the tooth moist until you get to the dental office. You can do this by holding it between your cheek and gum, or by placing it in a cup of milk. Avoid using tap water.
Protecting your teeth
With some simple precautions, you can reduce the risk of chipping, fracturing, or otherwise injuring your teeth. Tips to preserve your teeth and smile include:
- Wear a mouthguard at all times when engaging in sports and recreation activities
- Avoid biting down or chewing on hard foods such as candy, ice, or unpopped popcorn kernels
- Don’t try to open packages or other items with your teeth
- Practice good oral hygiene as an excellent way to keep your teeth strong and healthy
For more information on what to do in the case of dental emergencies, call us to make an appointment with Dr. Kim or request an appointment at our in Cleveland, Ohio, office using our online form.