Fall sports are kicking into high gear and with outdoor activities, comes the risk of getting a tooth knocked out. Every year, more than 5 million teeth are knocked out in children and adults. Whether you are on the soccer field, riding a bike or simply playing outside, it’s helpful to know how to handle the situation. Be sure to call your dentist as soon as possible after the tooth is knocked out. Quick action and proper steps will increase the chances of saving the tooth. If a tooth gets knocked out, here are the first steps you should take:
1) Pick the tooth up by the crown carefully to protect the root.
2) Keep tooth moist at all times. Do not let it get dry. Do not wrap it in a tissue or cloth, and do not try to clean the tooth.
3) If possible, gently reposition tooth in socket right away. The sooner the tooth is replaced, the greater the likelihood it will survive.
4) If the tooth can’t be repositioned, put it into an emergency tooth preservation kit like Hanks Balanced Salt Solution or Save-a-Tooth®. If you don’t have these on hand, you can put the tooth in milk or in your mouth, next to your cheek.
5) Try to see your dentist within 30 minutes, if possible. If the tooth can be re-implanted within two hours, then the chance of it working is increased. It’s not worth trying if it has been more than two hours.
The tooth will need to be splinted temporarily to the adjacent teeth, and will require a root canal within two weeks. Be prepared: This may only be a temporary fix because a lot can go wrong with a tooth that has been re-implanted. You may need an implant in the future, but it’s definitely worth trying to save it first.