It can be utterly remarkable to think that some parts of you can be reattached in the event of an accident. If you lose a finger, a toe, an arm, or even a leg in an accident, these parts of you can be reattached in some circumstances. But what about your teeth? If you experience trauma to the head that causes a tooth to fall out, then you might think that this the end of the story. After all, you only get two sets of teeth in your lifetime, so if an adult tooth is lost then you might need to consider a dental implant. This is not always the case. If you act quickly, a tooth that has been knocked out can in fact be reattached into its socket and will stay in place with some intervention from a dentist. So what should you do when one of your teeth is knocked out?
Picking up the Tooth
It might seem like one of the worst possible dental emergencies when a tooth is knocked out. You need to very carefully pick up the tooth, or spit it out into your hand if it's still in your mouth. Do not touch the base of your tooth so that you don't disturb its delicate nerve endings. These need to remain intact if reattachment is to be successful.
Rinsing the Tooth
Is the tooth dirty or bloody? Gently rinse it in cold water. Use low pressure water so that you don't inadvertently knock the tooth out of your hand and let it go down the sink.
Reinserting the Tooth
Place the rinsed tooth back into its socket and bite down gently to keep it in place. Visit a dentist immediately. But what if it's not possible to insert the tooth back into its socket?
Storing the Tooth
If you cannot reinsert the tooth, you have two options. You can place it in a small sealable container which will then be filled with cow's milk—whichever variety you have in the fridge. Cow's milk allows the tooth's nerve endings to retain their correct chemical balance, which will prevent them from dying out. If you don't have any milk, simply hold the broken tooth in your cheek while being very careful not to swallow it. Do not store the tooth in water, or leave it to dry out. Both of these options can kill the tooth's nerve endings. You need to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Stabilising the Tooth
Your dentist will take care of the next step. The tooth (once properly reinserted into its socket) will be held in place with a splint, which can look like localised dental braces. The tooth is kept in the correct position using a metal archwire and a bracket. Your gum tissues will slowly envelop the base of the tooth to hold it in place, much like it always was. A root canal might be necessary when the tooth has stabilised, and your dentist might also prescribe antibiotics if there is any risk of infection.
So while losing a tooth can feel like a tragedy, it's interesting to know that your mouth might be able to welcome it back if you act quickly.Share
19 September 2016
Miranda Raff here. My brother is a stressed-out dental student, so I'm starting this blog on his behalf. I work in a travel agency and my brother is mortified by the number of dental tourism stories I bring home. I book short holidays for people who seem as though they are going to enjoy some relaxation in an exotic country, only to learn that they plan to have cheap dental procedures. Whilst there are good dentists in developing countries, according to my brother, the complex procedures these people plan to have simply can't be finished in such a limited time. This blog is an attempt to inform you about the high skill levels and advanced technology found in Australian dental surgeries. New techniques are being developed every year and Australian dentists are at the forefront of offering these solutions. I really hope this blog helps you to appreciate our dentists.