What To Do When You Lose a Tooth
Losing your teeth is a normal part of growing up from an infant into a child, however, if you’ve lost or avulsed (knocked-out) an adult or permanent tooth as a child or an adult, it can cause panic to the kind of repercussions it can have. Will you need to have costly improvement work and what effect it can have on the rest of your mouth?
However, not all is lost, if you can see a dentist quickly, with the tooth in hand and there is nothing of the tooth left in the empty socket (clean break), it can be possible to save not only the socket but the tooth as well!
What To Do If You Knock Out a Permanent Tooth
Its not an uncommon occurrence for a tooth to get knocked out, especially if you are an active person who takes part in contact sports, attend busy events or tend to get into trouble down the pub on a Friday night. If you find yourself in a situation where your tooth has been knocked out of the socket, make sure to follow these instructions to ensure the best chance of saving the tooth;
First, find the tooth and check it has no further damage from falling to the ground, i.e. chipped or broken root, broken or cracked enamel. Make sure when you pick up the tooth, you do so by firmly but gently grasping the crown, which is the visible part of your tooth when it’s in your mouth.
Second, if the root looks dirty, do not try to clean it by hand by scrubbing or touching! The root is made of different organic material to the crown of your tooth and by interfering with it you can lose vital tissue, preventing your tooth from taking pride of place back in your mouth. Instead, give the tooth a rinse with some sterile saline solution, saliva (your own!) or some milk.
Third, once you are satisfied the tooth is clean, put it back in the socket. This is sure to have made a few readers cringe, however, it’s vital that you get the tooth back in place as soon as you can and continue to hold it in place by biting down gently or with a clean washcloth or sterile gauze until the dentist can see you.
If you find resistance trying to put the tooth back in place or it doesn’t fit in place, store it in sterile saline solution (preferably) or milk. Do not use water as this can interfere with the organic material and doesn’t preserve the tooth as well as saline or milk. In the case of an emergency, you can store your tooth in your mouth, pressed between your cheek and gum to keep it moist.
Fourth, time is of the essence, the longer you wait means the less likely your tooth will correctly seat back in the socket. If you cannot get to see your normal registered dentist, take yourself down to the emergency room, explain the situation and you should be seen promptly.
What If I Can’t Find the Tooth?
If you can’t find the tooth, you will need to have a prosthetic tooth fitted. If you can’t find the tooth but still have an empty socket, it’s recommended you go to see your dentist promptly so to prevent any further damage occurring.
Why Should I See the Dentist After Losing a Tooth?
When you lose a complete tooth, the hole in your jaw left behind exposes your bone and nerve endings. Should this socket not clot properly with a natural blood clot, it can lead to pain a lot worse, known as ‘Dry Socket’ that can spread to your ear and make for a very uncomfortable time. The dentist will be able to treat this area if necessary and take you through the process of replacing the tooth.
A lost tooth doesn’t just affect your mouth but can have a knock-on effect against your confidence, leading you to smile less and could lead to further issues down the line. A dentist has the appropriate skill, expertise, and dental instruments to look after you, advising what to eat and drink until you have healed and providing extra guidance where necessary.
Losing a tooth can be a scary experience, especially when it’s due to an accident. However, you don’t have to stop smiling, follow these steps and make sure to take a speedy trip to your dentist and get it sorted before you suffer from dry socket pain or worse.