Many teeth are knocked-out of their sockets every year due to accidents, fights and sports injuries. Most of these teeth are lost forever, leaving their owners with no other option but to resort to dentures or bridges. But did you know that an avulsed tooth (that’s what dentists call a knocked-out chomper) can be saved by simply re-implanting it back into its socket? Properly done, the root of the tooth can reattach to the jaw bone and reclaim its rightful place to last for years.
However, to be successful, the re-implantation must be done immediately while the cells at the root of the tooth are still alive. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the better chances of saving it. The American Association of Endodontists recommends the following steps to successfully save a knocked-out tooth:
- Immediately locate the fallen tooth and pick up by the chewing surface (crown). Avoid touching the root of the tooth to prevent further damage.
- If the tooth is contaminated with dirt, gently rinse it with milk. Do not wash with water, alcohol or any chemicals which will damage the cells on the root. Also avoid wiping it with cloth or tissue paper.
- Re-implant the tooth in the socket as soon as possible. Make sure it’s facing the right way then carefully push into the socket. Hold it in place with a finger or by gently biting down on it. Rush to the nearest dentist.
- If for some reason the tooth doesn’t easily go back into the socket without pressure, just keep it between the gum and cheek to keep it moist while on the way to the dental clinic.
- Avoid exposing the tooth to air. It will be damaged within minutes and re-implanting it may fail as a result. If patient is unable to keep the tooth inside the mouth while in transit, the tooth will survive for up to 6 hours in a container with milk or saliva! Never store the tooth in water as plain water will damage the delicate root cells and kill the tooth.
At the dental clinic, the dentist will check if the tooth was properly replanted and perform other dental procedures to ensure it heals properly. If the tooth has not been placed back into its socket yet, the dentist will clean it carefully and replace it. To keep it in place, a stabilizing splint will be used until the tooth has healed and permanently re-attaches to the socket.
And that is your ToppCock “Topp Gentleman’s” Tip of the Month.