Steps to take if you lose a permanent tooth

November 12, 2014

If you’ve had your tooth knocked out, don’t despair or waste time fretting. Here’s what you need to do to repair your smile.
Playing a game of softball with friends, you’ve accidentally had a tooth knocked out as you bungled a catch. Oh well, rinse your mouth, take a minute and get back into the game. You can go to dentist to repair your smile another day. Right?

Wrong. Although you’ve lost your tooth, there’s a chance you can have it successfully replanted. But time is of the essence. You need to get to a dentist, and fast!
Pick it up
When you’ve cleared your head and made sure you don’t have a worse injury, like a broken jaw, locate the missing tooth and pick it up — carefully! You want to make sure you don’t damage its root, so lift it by the crown (the chewing side).

You might also consider applying a cold compress to your mouth to ease your pain. Apply pressure with gauze to stop the bleeding.
Keep it clean
If the dislodged tooth is dirty, rinse it clean with water. Do not use soap or chemicals, scrub the tooth or try to dry it. And don’t wrap it a cloth or tissue (which would dry it out).
Replace the tooth
When taking the tooth to a dentist, it’s paramount to try to keep the root moist and alive. If you’re up for the challenge, try putting the tooth back in its socket. The sooner the tooth is placed back, the greater the chance of its survival.

Carefully push the tooth into the socket with your fingers, or position it above the socket and close your mouth slowly and gently. Make sure the tooth is level with your other teeth and hold it in place with your fingers, or by gentlybiting down on it. You can also bite on gauze or a wet tea bag to keep the tooth in place.

Try not to swallow the tooth!
Or carry it, keeping it moist
If you can’t manage to put the tooth back, hold it loosely in your mouth resting against your cheek. Or you can place it in a container with a bit of milk or saliva, to keep it moist. But do not use water, because the sensitive root cannot tolerate this liquid for long periods of time.

Or, if you have had true foresight, you can use the emergency tooth preservation kit you bought for your first-aid supplies.
As fast as you can
Then go to a dentist as quickly as possible. The sooner you do, the better the chance of saving the tooth. Ideally you should have treatment within 30 minutes. But it is possible that the tooth may be saved if it’s longer than an hour.
Not with kids
The above scenario applies to the loss of an adult, permanent tooth. Do not try to reinsert a child’s baby tooth. Doing this could damage the permanent tooth that’s being formed underneath.
The best medicine is prevention
But the best way to preserve your smile is not to lose your tooth in the first place. Take sensible precautions. Wear a mouth guard if you play contact sports. Use your seat belt in moving cars. Beware of chewing hard foods, such as bones and stale bread.

Steps to take if you lose a permanent tooth
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