What Should You Do if a Tooth is Knocked Out?


We’re all at risk for having a tooth knocked out.

More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year! If we know how to handle this emergency situation, we might be able to save the tooth. Teeth that are knocked out can possibly be re-implanted if we act quickly and follow these simple steps:Periodontal disease is often silent. Bleeding, pain, and looseness of teeth may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, you should still be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms, which include:We’re all at risk for having a tooth knocked out. More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year! If we know how to handle this emergency situation, we might be able to save the tooth. Teeth that are knocked out can possibly be re-implanted if we act quickly and follow these simple steps:
1. Locate the tooth and handle it only by the crown (chewing part of the tooth), NOT by the roots.
2. DO NOT scrub or use soap or chemicals to clean the tooth. If it has dirt or debris on it, rinse it gently with your own saliva or whole milk. If that is not possible, rinse it very gently with water.
3. Get to a dentist within 30 minutes. The longer you wait, the less chance there is for successful reimplantation.

Ways to transport the tooth:
• Try to replace the tooth back in its socket immediately. Gently bite down on gauze, a wet tea bag or on your own teeth to keep the tooth in place. Apply a cold compress to the mouth for pain and swelling as needed.
• If the tooth cannot be placed back into the socket, place the tooth in a container and cover with a small amount of your saliva or whole milk. You can also place the tooth under your tongue or between your lower lip and gums. Keep the tooth moist at all times. Do not transport the tooth in a tissue or cloth.You can prevent broken or knocked-out teeth by: wearing a mouthguard when playing sports; always wearing your seatbelt; avoiding fights; and avoid chewing hard items such as ice, popcorn kernels, hard breads, etc.

What are my options if the tooth cannot be saved?
Losing a tooth can be a very traumatic experience and it’s very unfortunate when it does happen. Injury, accident, fracture, severe dental decay, and gum disease are the major reasons for losing teeth. If teeth are lost due to injury or have to be removed, it is imperative that they be replaced to avoid cosmetic and dental problems in the future.When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone that helped support that tooth begins to wear away, causing the teeth on either side to shift or tip into the open space of the lost tooth. Also, the tooth above or below the open space will start to move towards the open space because there is no opposing tooth to bite on and all teeth want a partner tooth. Movements like this may create problems such as decay, gum disease, excessive wear on other teeth, and TMJ (jaw joint) problems.
Fortunately there are various options for replacement of missing teeth.
Partials – This type of replacement is a good solution for replacing one or more missing teeth, especially in complex dental situations where other replacement options are not possible. They are usually made of tooth-colored, artificial teeth combined with clasps that hook onto adjacent natural teeth. Fixed bridges – This is generally made of porcelain or composite material and is permanently anchored (cemented) to a natural tooth next to the missing tooth site.
Dentures – This type of tooth replacement is used when most or all of the natural teeth are missing in one dental arch. Dentures are removable artificial teeth that are made to closely resemble the patient’s original teeth. They can be supported with implants to keep them nice and secure.
Implants – A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is placed on the implant, giving the appearance and feel of a natural tooth. Implants are very stable, durable, and are the most aesthetically pleasing tooth replacement option but they are often the most expensive.

If you are missing teeth, we can discuss what options are available to you. Together we will select the best replacement option and how to make sure you can achieve a lifetime of good eating and healthy tooth function. Call today to schedule an appointment! For more information, visit www.DrKarlSmith.com.

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Dr. Karl Smith
Dr. Karl Smith has been in dental practice for over thirty-four years. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981 and immediately entered General Practice in the US Air Force Dental Corps. He successfully completed three additional years of advanced education in the specialty of Periodontics with additional training in IV Sedation and Dental Implants in 1992, at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He won the John Pritchard Prize for outstanding research which included looking for a vaccine against bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Dr. Smith completed a Master of Business Administration degree with a Certificate in Health Services Management while working full time as a Periodontist. In his free time Dr. Smith enjoys traveling nationally and internationally. He is an expert skier and enjoys playing other sports including tennis. Family time with his five children and many grandchildren is also very important to him. Dr. Smith's team describes him as a dentist with superpowers! They know that when he speaks with his patients, he does so with a great deal of care and concern, and because he has a genuine desire to improve their lives and smiles! Dr. Smith is a member of many dental organizations including the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology.