Summer break is finally here. For many families, this means spending more time enjoying activities outside. While we know your kids are anxious to participate in their sports games and pool parties, these events also bring an increased risk for oral injuries. Do you know what to do if a member of your family suffers a knocked out tooth? Whether it was from a baseball or the side of a pool, there are things you can do to prevent long-term damage to your smile.
First and foremost, call your emergency dentist as soon as possible after a dental-related injury. An avulsed (knocked out) tooth can be put back in place in many cases – but only if you follow a few vital steps immediately after the accident.
Your primary goal after an adult tooth comes out is to keep it alive. This involves keeping the root of the tooth moist and safe. The root is the component that provides blood and nutrients to the tooth, so it must be preserved. Here are some steps to follow to accomplish this:
#1 Handle the tooth by the crown (not the root).
#2 Gently rinse it with water (tap or bottled), but do not brush the tooth or use sterilizing products to clean a lost tooth.
#3 Try to put the tooth back in its socket. Use a wet tea bag or gauze to bite down on the tooth and keep it in place. This may not always be possible, especially if you are dealing with a young child. Don’t worry – there are other ways to keep the tooth safe and moist.
#4 If returning the tooth to its socket is not feasible, keep the tooth moist in a cup of cow’s milk. You may also use your own saliva to prevent the tooth root from drying out, and this can be done by placing the tooth under your tongue until you see a dentist.
#5 Stay calm and get to your dentist as soon as possible. You can expect your emergency dentist to evaluate the damage as soon as you arrive. If the tooth is salvageable, it will be placed back into its socket. In many cases, a special splint (similar to braces) will be used to keep the tooth in position as it heals. This can take up to two weeks.
At Village Dental, we hope that your family has a fun and safe summer that is free of mouth injuries. However, if an incident occurs, please don’t hesitate to call our office. We reserve time in our daily schedules to treat dental emergencies such as a knocked-out tooth. Remember that if the injury involves uncontrolled bleeding or life-threatening symptoms, visit the emergency room first.