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How do I Save a Knocked-out Tooth?

by | Feb 15, 2022 | Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry

Knocked out tooth

A knocked-out tooth is more common than most people realize. It often occurs to kids and active adults and especially those who play contact sports. If a tooth is chipped, you can gather up the pieces and take them to your Glen Ellyn, IL dentist to get the tooth repaired. But what are you supposed to do if a whole tooth gets knocked out?

What to do With a Knocked-Out Tooth

Here are a few tips from Dr. Gibbs on what to do if you or a child has a tooth knocked out.

  • If it was a child who lost the tooth, check to see if it is an adult tooth (a permanent tooth) or a baby tooth. Baby teeth are not re-implanted.
  • Do not touch the root of the tooth. The root has fibers called periodontal ligaments. These are needed for the tooth to heal properly once it is reimplanted. Only handle the tooth by the surface or top area.
  • If you can tell that the tooth is dirty, carefully, and briefly rinse it with tap water. Don’t rub or scrub the tooth.
  • If at all possible, go ahead and place the tooth back in its socket and call your Smile Glen Ellyn dentist.
  •  If you cannot put the tooth back in the socket for any reason, take the tooth and go immediately to the dentist’s office or the emergency room. While you are en route to the emergency dentist or the ER, place the tooth in the mouth between the cheek and gum. Or put it in a small container of milk to keep the root moist.

Why Timely Action is Important

Time is extremely important when it comes to saving a knocked-out tooth. If it can be placed back in the socket within five minutes, it has a better chance of being saved. If you store the tooth properly there is still a good survival rate up to an hour. However, once the tooth is out of the socket over an hour the chances of its survival decrease significantly.

What the Dentist can do with a Knocked Out Tooth

Once you get to Dr. Gibbs’ office, he will try to re-implant the tooth in its socket. Then, it is splinted to the adjacent teeth for at least two weeks to give it time to heal. Sometimes, putting the tooth back in the socket is a simple process. Other times, it is complicated, such as if a bone or the tooth are broken. Dr. Gibbs will rinse the debris from the socket and then attempt to gently slip the tooth back in place.

If needed, a root canal will be performed. This may give the tooth a better chance of surviving. If the bone near the tooth wasn’t fractured, the root usually reattaches firmly in three or four weeks. Of course, if there is more significant physical damage to the area, it can take longer for it to heal.

field hockey players wearing mouthguards

Why Protect Your Teeth with a Mouthguard?

Do you have a mouthguard in your gym bag? You may not have thought about it before. But getting injured while playing sports or working out is real. Wearing a mouthguard during any kind of workout such as cycling, CrossFit, or running can help protect your teeth. And it’s certainly a must for any kind of sport where you may come into contact with other people. Why should you wear a mouthguard?

  • Knocking out a permanent tooth can be expensive to fix, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover sports-related injuries.
  • It’s easy to get a tooth knocked out while exercising, especially if you are participating in contact sports like kickboxing, martial arts, or boxing. A mouthguard can protect your teeth from accidentally being knocked out by a sparring partner.
  • If you break an adult tooth, it’s permanent. They do not grow back. There are restorative treatments that can help improve their appearance, but it’s not the same as having your natural teeth.

How does a mouthguard protect your teeth during exercise?

If you fall or get punched in the head, your teeth can tap each other. They can crack, become loosened, or get knocked out during rigorous activities. A mouthguard absorbs the force of the fall or other contact and protects the teeth from chipping, breaking, or getting knocked out. Mouthguards are designed to protect your teeth from impact. Any type of mouthguard (ready-made, custom-formed, or boil-and-bite) can add a much-needed layer of protection for your teeth while playing sports or participating in rigorous activities.

Contact Us

If you knock a tooth out or have another dental emergency and it’s not during our regular office hours, please call us! We can help you get the care you need. A Glen Ellyn dentist can also recommend a mouthguard to help you prevent tooth injuries. He can make a custom-made mouthguard for you to wear during activities or sports. Or he can recommend a style that will be suitable for your activity level and provide your teeth with the protection they need. 

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