No one ever joins a sports team or gets into a car with the expectation of a dental emergency like a knocked-out tooth. However, in most instances, knocked out teeth are caused by sports or automobile accidents.
Every year, around 5 million teeth are knocked out. If you or your child happens to be one of the unlucky people to experience this dental trauma, don’t panic. If you act quickly and carefully, you may be able to save your tooth.
Steps to preserve a knocked-out tooth
1. Find the tooth
If possible, locate the tooth and pick it up. Only touch the crown — the usually visible part of the tooth — and handle it carefully. Touching the root could damage your tooth and reduce your chances of saving it.
2. Rinse the tooth
If your tooth has dirt on it, you can rinse it with water. Don’t use any soap, chemicals or even toothpaste to clean it. Do not wrap the tooth in gauze, tissue, or any other material.
3. Store the tooth
The best way to store your tooth as you make your way to San Jose Oral Surgery, it to gently place it back in its socket. Alternatively, you can tuck the tooth between your gum and cheek.
If you can’t put the tooth back into your mouth, store it in a small, sealed container filled with milk or Save-a-Tooth® — an emergency tooth preservation kit. Don’t use water as your teeth can’t tolerate prolonged exposure to water.
4. See an oral surgeon within 30 minutes
Prompt action can save your tooth, and the more quickly you get expert attention from the team at San Jose Oral Surgery, the better your chances of preserving your tooth. Call the practice while you’re on your way to let the office staff and oral surgeons know that you’re coming and provide any details about your condition.
Whenever possible, your oral surgeon will implant your tooth back into its socket and give you instructions on how to take care of your teeth while you recover.
What happens if my tooth can’t be replaced?
The team at San Jose Oral Surgery recommends dental implants as a replacement tooth option. A dental implant is a false tooth that includes a titanium post that secures the crown to your jaw. Not only are dental implants extremely natural-looking, but they also stimulate bone growth in your jaw which reduces your risk of future tooth loss. Your oral surgeon coordinates care with your regular dentist to ensure you get the best possible treatment to meet your needs.
Can I reduce my risk of knocking out a tooth?
Yes! While accidents happen, you can lower your risk of dental trauma by using appropriate protective gear. For example, always wear a mouthguard and helmet (if necessary) while playing sports.
Also, you should always wear a seatbelt while you’re in a moving vehicle. A seatbelt can prevent you from smashing your face and damaging your teeth during a collision.
You can also keep your teeth strong and healthy by brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day and flossing your teeth at least once. Routine dental checkups are another critical part of preventive dental care.
If you’ve knocked out a tooth or are having another dental emergency, call San Jose Oral Surgery for expert, teeth-saving treatment.