The Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group specializes in replacing lost teeth, but in some cases, it is possible to save them. If a person’s tooth has been knocked out but is still intact, it is imperative that they see a dentist as quickly as possible and follow this guide.
Only hold the tooth by the crown (the part that’s not the root). The soft tissue surrounding the root is delicate and easily rubbed off. Rinse the tooth with saltwater or milk, and, if possible, put it back in its socket. Biting down on gauze or a cotton ball can help keep a tooth from the upper jaw in place. If the tooth cannot be reinserted or you are unsure which way it is supposed to face (this may not immediately be obvious with molars to a layperson), the tooth should be held in the patient’s cheek. Failing that, it should be held in a container filled with saltwater or milk.
This advice assumes a first-aid kit stocked for dental emergencies is not immediately available. The American Dental Association does recommend cleaning and transport items for lost teeth, which are best to use, if convenient. It also assumes that the tooth was a permanent, natural one. Baby teeth should not be replaced, as they may disrupt the growth of other teeth, but children will be given a spacer to keep the gap open for when the permanent tooth erupts. Implants cannot be replaced until the patient’s jaw bone has healed, at which point the patient will be given a different implant. Lastly, while a tooth’s odds of being saved are best if it is treated within an hour of being knocked out, patients should not prioritize it over injuries which need to be treated in an emergency room.
Frederick Shaw, DDS, operates the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group at 1500 W 38th Street, Suite 34, Austin, Texas, 78731. To schedule an appointment, call 512-451-7491 or visit FrederickShawDDS.com and fill out a contact form.