Knocked Out Teeth: Next Steps for the Most Common Dental Emergency
Beyond Fistfights: Common Causes of Knocked Out Teeth
Forget Hollywood brawls. Knocked-out teeth, also known as avulsed teeth, happen more often than you might think. Simple falls, face injuries, and even contact sports can be the culprits. While it’s a common dental emergency, only 9% of Americans know what to do when it strikes. This guide equips you with the knowledge and steps to potentially save your lost tooth!
Quick Action is Key: Understanding the Timeframe
Time is crucial! Ideally, aim to see your dentist within 30 minutes of losing the tooth. However, with immediate action, successful reimplantation has even occurred after an hour. So, stay calm and focused, follow these steps, and increase your chances of salvaging your smile.
1. Locate and Handle the Tooth Gently:
- Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (white, chewing surface), not the roots.
- Rinse gently with lukewarm water for no more than 10 seconds if dirty. Avoid chemicals, soaps, or drying it. Excessive water or rough handling can damage the root cells needed for reimplantation.
2. Try Reimplantation (if Possible):
- If the tooth is whole, gently push it back into the socket by the crown. Hold it there with your fingers or bite down softly.
3. Keep the Tooth Moist:
- Never let the tooth dry out! If reimplantation isn’t possible, keep it moist at all times. Here are your options:
- Place it in your cheek: The most natural and preferred method.
- Store it in milk: A temporary alternative if cheek-storing isn’t possible.
- Use an emergency tooth preservation kit: If readily available, follow the kit’s instructions.
4. Time to See Your Dentist (Fast!):
- Every minute counts! Call Lakeview Family Dentists immediately and explain the situation. We prioritize emergency appointments.
- If reaching our office immediately isn’t possible, head to the emergency room.
5. Post-Reimplantation Recovery and Options:
- Healing time for reattached teeth can vary from 1-8 weeks. Regular checkups follow, and further treatment might not be needed.
- If reimplantation is unsuccessful, your dentist will discuss tooth replacement options like bridges or implants after the socket heals.
Prevention is Always Best:
Wearing a mouthguard during contact sports and practicing good oral hygiene are your best defenses against knocked-out teeth. But if it happens, knowing what to do can make a world of difference. At Lakeview Family Dentists, we empower you with the knowledge you need to care for your oral health!
Call Lakeview Family Dentists
Emergency Dental Care: The 4 Signs You Might Need It!
Damage to teeth and gums can’t be ignored. It’s always important to act quickly if something is wrong, but some dental issues are more pressing than others. How can you know the difference between a dental problem that needs to be solved soon and a problem that needs to be solved now?
We never want our patients to put off a dental procedure when it could lead to lasting harm, so we’ve compiled a list of important warning signs that mean you should get your teeth checked out as soon as possible. After all, you’ve only got so many teeth — it’s best to keep them all in good shape.
1. Dental abscesses
A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside of a tooth or gums that is caused by a bacterial infection. If your symptoms include shiny red swollen gums, a fever, or pain that spreads to your jaw or neck, you may have an abscess, even if you don’t see it. Try to see us as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, you can reduce the pain of the abscess by avoiding cold drinks. Use a soft toothbrush to very gently clean the area until we can get you into the office.
2. Broken or missing teeth
It goes without saying that obvious physical damage to your teeth is one of the most urgent dental emergencies you can experience. If your tooth has been damaged, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately and call us as soon as possible. If your tooth has come out, gently try to put it back into the socket (without touching the root!) or keep it in your mouth to protect it until we can see you.
3. Significant pain or swelling in the teeth, gums or jaw
Constant pain or swelling in your mouth is never normal! This symptom may seem vague or common, but it could be a sign of major damage or an infection that could have nasty results if left untreated. Don’t tough it out. Call us and we will decide together whether you need to come in for an appointment.
4. Lost filling or crown
A crown or filling can become loose or even fall out for a variety of reasons. If you lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try to save it — we may be able to reuse it. Rinse the area with warm salt water and continue to brush the damaged tooth (gently!) until we can see you.
Ignoring any of these four dental problems could result in the permanent loss of teeth. Infections can even spread to other parts of your body and cause serious general medical issues, so it’s extremely important to get your teeth examined if you experience any dental emergency on this list!
We want your tooth pain or mouth pain to stop.
First and foremost, if you are in pain, we want to help you get some relief. Then we can address any underlying causes to solve the problem using dental best practices. If you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, give us a call at 978-957-6300 as soon as possible. We’ll get you an appointment in the near future, so you can go back to your life and leave tooth pain behind.