If you’ve ever knocked out a tooth, you’re not alone. About five million teeth are knocked out each year. Everything from car accidents to falling off a bike to playing baseball can bust out a tooth. You’d think this is a problem mainly for kids. But kids and adults are at almost equal risk of having a tooth knocked out.
George Saliba, DDS, at GEMS Dental in Houston, Texas, provides emergency dental services that include restoring a knocked-out tooth. However, there are important steps you should take to keep your tooth viable while you make your way to Dr. Saliba.
Time is not on your side when your tooth is knocked out. You must act quickly to keep the tooth viable. First, locate the tooth or portion of the broken tooth. It’s possible that Dr. Saliba can repair your broken tooth by bonding it back together. He might even be able to reinsert the tooth into its socket.
If you handle your tooth properly, it can stay viable outside your mouth for about one hour. When you locate the knocked out tooth, don’t touch the root. Pick up the tooth by its crown, the chewing surface normally exposed to the air.
Rinse the tooth quickly in milk (best!) or bottled water (second best). Then tuck the tooth into its socket, making sure it’s aligned properly with your other teeth. Apply steady pressure for five minutes at least, and maintain light pressure while you travel to our office.
If your tooth won’t stay put, pack your socket with gauze and tuck the tooth between the inside of your cheek and gum, where saliva will keep it moist. If necessary, transport the tooth in a cup of milk.
If you visit Dr. Saliba as soon as possible after losing your tooth, you’ve got the best chance of being able to reimplant your tooth and restore your smile. For a few weeks, the tooth might have to be attached to your other teeth. Also, you may need a root canal in the future.
If your tooth can’t be implanted successfully, you won’t have to endure an empty spot where your tooth once sat. Dr. Saliba can create a restoration with a bridge or a dental implant, which looks and functions like a natural tooth.
If you lose a tooth and need emergency dental care, contact Dr. Saliba at GEMS Dental by calling our office immediately. If your need is less urgent, you can also request an appointment online.