- Five million teeth are knocked out yearly due to physical trauma or accidents.
- There is an 80% chance of successfully reattaching a permanent adult tooth if action is taken within two hours of it being knocked out.
- Recovering the tooth immediately is critical, and one should hold it in its original place or store it in milk or saline solution.
- It is also important to rinse the mouth of any blood and debris with lukewarm water, then contact a dentist for further instructions.
- The dentist might recommend a dental implant if the tooth is not salvageable.
Getting a tooth knocked out can be a scary experience, but it isn’t as uncommon as one might think. Many activities could lead to a tooth being knocked out, such as contact sports like football, basketball, boxing, and martial arts; other physical activities like skateboarding or rollerblading; and even everyday activities like chewing hard foods or opening bottles. According to the American Dental Association’s website, 5 million teeth are knocked out yearly due to physical trauma or accidents.
Sports-related activities are a significant cause of dental injury among youth. A 2017 study found that 30% of dental injuries in adolescents were due to playing sports; 20% were attributed to contact sports such as football, hockey, or soccer. Additionally, according to the same study, male athletes are more likely than female athletes to suffer from dental trauma.
Unfortunately, you might be one of the unlucky ones that got your tooth knocked out. The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize potential damage and save your tooth. Here’s what you should do if you ever find yourself in this situation:
Recover the Tooth Immediately
Recovering a tooth immediately is the critical factor in whether or not it can successfully be reattached. If the tooth remains viable, then reattachment becomes a possibility. The American Association of Endodontists states that a knocked-out permanent adult tooth has up to an 80% chance of being saved if action is taken quickly enough. It’s essential to act with haste because the odds of successful reattachment decrease significantly after two hours of the tooth being out of its socket. Here are a few tips to help you during that situation:
Hold the tooth in its original place.
The most effective way to save a knocked-out tooth is by placing it back into the socket and having the patient bite down on a moistened gauze pad or wet teabag to hold it in place until medical help arrives.
Use milk or saline solution for storage.
If it isn’t possible to put it back into its socket, then keeping the tooth moist is essential for a successful reattachment. This means storing it in milk or a saline solution containing salt and water. These substances are hydrating and have antiseptic properties that help keep bacteria from forming on the root surface and causing infection.
Rinsing mouth of blood and debris
Rinsing the mouth of any blood or debris is critical to helping a knocked-out tooth stay viable. This should be done using only lukewarm water and not an antiseptic rinse, as this could damage the root surface and prevent reattachment.
Contact your dentist
Once you have recovered the tooth and rinsed your mouth, please contact your dentist immediately for more instructions on what to do next. This is especially crucial if more than one tooth is knocked out because it requires specialized care that can’t wait even two hours for a successful reattachment.
Receive Dental Treatment
While you might have remedies for saving your tooth at home, it is best to go to the dentist for further treatment. They are trained professionals with the experience and tools necessary to assess the situation and ensure your teeth stay healthy and safe. A root canal procedure may be required if there is any damage to the tooth’s nerve, but a professional can only determine this.
If there are no complications for reattachment within the first two hours, your dentist can successfully reattach the tooth. Sometimes, a splint might be needed to hold it in place for up to two weeks while the periodontal ligaments re-establish themselves and stabilize the tooth.
Consider Dental Implant
If the tooth can’t be saved, then a dental implant might be recommended by your dentist. This synthetic replacement for the root of a missing tooth is usually made from titanium or other biocompatible material. It supports a prosthetic device such as an artificial crown or bridge and can help restore your smile.
A dental implant procedure will cost an average of $3,000-$4,500 and is usually covered by most insurance plans. It also takes multiple appointments over several months for complete healing and recovery.
Take Preventative Measures
The best thing you can do if you have experienced dental trauma is to take preventative measures to avoid any future knocks or injuries to your teeth. For example, wearing protective equipment when participating in contact sports or activities that could lead to getting hit in the face may reduce the risk of injury. Additionally, eating healthy foods and practicing good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing regularly is essential.
No one wants to get their tooth knocked out, but it is essential to know what steps to take in case that ever happens. The critical thing is to act quickly and recover the tooth as soon as possible for a successful reattachment. If all else doesn’t work, you should permanently consider a dental implant to replace the missing tooth. Your dentist will be able to provide more information on what the best course of action would be for you.