If you or your child experiences a trauma that leads to a lost tooth, it is first and foremost a surprise… and it’s a dental emergency. Whether it’s a sports injury, auto accident, or other accident, you may have had a tooth knocked out or dislodged, and it may also be extremely painful. Even in the absence of pain, it’s a good idea to have teeth checked after facial trauma to detect any fissures or cracks below the gum line that might lead to infection to adjacent teeth and gums.
Your dentist may be able to repair or replace your dislodged tooth, also known as an avulsed, extruded or luxated tooth.
What to do when a tooth is knocked out
- Locate the tooth and try putting it back in the socket and holding it in place by biting down.
- If it’s completely dislodged, clean it and store it in a plastic baggie or other clean, safe container, or drop it in a small amount of cold milk.
- Do NOT scrub the tooth.
- Call your dentist.
With prompt dental care, the dental professionals at the Smile Center Family Dentistry may be able to successfully replace a dislodged tooth. Doing so may or may not require root canal therapy to stop infection. Without dental intervention for your dislodged tooth, you risk permanently losing your tooth permanently or causing an infection that can spread and cause further dental problems.
Children’s Teeth Knocked Out?
If your child has had a tooth knocked out or has chipped or broken a piece off of a tooth:
- Rinse his or her mouth with warm water (no soap or mouthwash).
- Use a cold compress to reduce swelling.
- Locate the tooth and store it in a cup of milk or a clean baggie.
If the affected tooth is a baby tooth, the situation may not be serious, since the child’s permanent tooth has yet to grow in. But you should call us right away, as your dentist may want to perform x-rays immediately and after a period of time to ensure additional trauma was not sustained when the tooth was dislodged.
Treating Tooth Trauma: Dislodged or Extruded Tooth
Your dentist may recommend additional tests and x-rays to ensure the trauma is isolated to a single tooth and has not affected other teeth or caused structural damage to the jaw or sinuses.
If you are treated in time, the periodontist may be able to fuse a medical mesh or cloth to the affected tooth to fix it in place. In other cases, it may be bonded in place with composite material or metal wire, or affixed with braces to adjacent teeth.
The goal of your treatment at the Smile Center Family Dentistry is to find the most effective treatment for you and your smile. Because we offer dental hygiene, prosthodontics, periodontics, and emergency dental services, we have all your dental needs covered in one of our San Antonio-area locations.
How can my dentist save a missing or loose tooth?
Before attempting to reposition or re-stabilize the tooth, your dentist will anesthetize and clean the affected area. If the tooth is still intact, the dentist will attempt to reposition the tooth and stabilize it before performing x-rays to see if the tooth’s root or blood vessels have been cracked or fractured.
The dentist may also recommend additional tests at follow-up x-rays to monitor permanent damage to the root, nerve or blood vessels. Some tooth trauma can require root canal treatment to prevent a dental abscess or a serious infection – which can be indicated by discoloration or pus draining into the mouth.
Three ways dentists can save a dislodged or missing tooth:
- Apply composite resin material stabilized by a small wire that is bonded to the tooth
- Attach orthodontic brackets to affected teeth to which braces are attached with a thin wire
- Fusing a synthetic gauze or metal mesh to the back of the damaged tooth to stabilize the injured tooth and promote healing