Tooth Loss

Another word for a tooth getting knocked out is avulsion. When a tooth is knocked out treatment includes controlling bleeding and pain. Permanent teeth may be successfully reimplanted in some cases. The sooner the tooth is cleaned and replaced in the proper position in the socket, the better the chance it can be saved. Evaluation by a dentist as soon as possible is needed so that the tooth may be positioned and stabilized. A temporary splint may be used to hold the tooth in place for the first 3 to 4 weeks. A splint joins the weak tooth to a strong tooth to increase the strength of the weak tooth. Baby teeth that are knocked out do not need to be reimplanted.

Reimplantation can be helped with emergency care if the entire tooth has been knocked out. This type of repair can be done only if the tooth can be reinserted within 2 hours of the accident. It is best if it can be done within a few minutes of the accident. A dentist should be seen as soon as possible. After 2 hours, the chances of saving the tooth are minimal. However, dental referral can be beneficial. Your dentist will discuss your options with you.

STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU LOSE A TOOTH

  • Do not handle the tooth by the root.

  • Wash the tooth off in clean water but not under a tap. Do not scrub the tooth.

  • You may try to replace the tooth in the socket. Gently bite down on it to get it in place.

  • If trying to replace the tooth does not work, keep the tooth in a glass of milk or water.You may keep it in your own mouth if there is no danger of swallowing it. However, this is not recommended for children.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • You can use ice packs along your jaw to help control swelling and pain.

  • For the next few days eat a liquid or soft diet and rinse your mouth out with warm water after meals.

  • Watch for signs of infection.

  • You should take all medications for pain and antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist.

  • An avulsed tooth will require stabilization for 1 to 2 months to ensure proper healing. This means it should not move around.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Pain is becoming worse or uncontrollable with medication.

  • You have increased swelling in your face or around the reimplanted tooth.

  • You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C) not controlled by medication.

  • You cannot open your mouth.