When a tooth is knocked out, it’s startling, to put it mildly. But, it’s also not a rare occurrence, especially among people who play sports. Auto accidents, falls, and other mishaps can also result in a dislodged tooth.
The highly qualified doctors at Santa Monica Bay Dental in Santa Monica, California, provide emergency dental services, including treating knocked-out teeth. If one of your teeth gets knocked out, you should do a few important things in addition to calling our office to let us know you’re on your way.
Speed: the most important thing
When a tooth has been knocked out, you need to act fast. The American Association of Endodontists suggests that you should be treated within 30 minutes to have the best chance of saving your tooth.
If the tooth is out of the socket for 60 minutes or more, the chances of saving it decrease dramatically.
Only touch the crown
The part of your tooth that you can see when it’s in your mouth is called the crown, and the part below the gumline is the root. When a tooth gets knocked out, only touch the crown.
If it’s on the ground, pick it up right away, carefully only touching the crown. If the tooth is broken into pieces, gather the pieces.
Is it dirty?
If the tooth is dirty, you can gently rinse it with water — again, being careful to only touch the crown. Don’t use soap or any other chemical to clean the tooth; just rinse it with water.
Put it back!
Once the tooth is clean, if at all possible, put it back in its socket as soon as you can. Gently place it in the socket and carefully press it down. Hold it in place either with your fingers or by biting down very gently.
Keep it moist
Sometimes it’s not possible to reposition the tooth in the socket. You can put it in a solution such as Save-a-Tooth® or submerge it in a small amount of milk. Regular tap water can damage the root of the tooth, so avoid that.
Prevention is the best medicine
Although we’re happy to provide emergency dental services when necessary, we’d prefer your teeth stay in your mouth, as you no doubt would as well! One of the most important things you can do to prevent having a tooth knocked out is to take proper precautions.
If you play sports, you’re at a far greater risk of having a tooth knocked out. Wearing a mouthguard can save your teeth. In fact, an athlete is 60 times more likely to experience a dental injury such as a knocked-out tooth without a mouthguard!
We can help you decide which type of mouthguard is best for you in order to protect your teeth and preserve your oral health. Whether you choose a ready-made one, a boil-and-bite type, or you have a mouthguard custom-made, your teeth will be safer!