If you or a loved one has accidentally had a tooth knocked out, you must act fast in order for the tooth to be viable enough to survive inside the damaged gum tissue. The good news is that you do have a great chance of saving your tooth if you leap into informed action! Just use these three steps as your guide.
Step 1: Gently rinse the tooth.
Teeth get knocked out under a variety of circumstances. Perhaps you play sports or were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The problem is that a knocked out tooth can fall just about anywhere. And, it's not always on a freshly cleaned surface. Therefore, your urge to scrub the tooth clean is completely natural, but it's not in the best interest of saving the tooth.
Therefore, avoid using antiseptic, soap, or scrubbing your tooth. That is because abrasive cleaning of the tooth can harm the nerve cells inside the tooth that are needed to adhere back into the gum tissue. Instead, gently rinse the tooth in room temperature water to remove the dirt without harming the tooth. Just make sure you plug or place a washrag in the sink to prevent the tooth from escaping down the drain, as the tooth will be very slippery.
Step 2: Gently slide the knocked out tooth back into its socket.
Generally, the quicker the tooth is successfully replaced back into your mouth, the better your chances are for a good outcome. That is because the microscopic cells inside your tooth can't survive for very long outside of your body.
To replace your tooth back into its socket, first rinse your mouth with a mixture of room temperature water and salt to gently cleanse your mouth. Do not use a toothbrush at this time, as you don't want to harm the gum tissue or tooth. Next, have a loved one or a trusted friend carefully line up the tooth and gently slide it back into the hole in the gum. Glance in the mirror to make sure that the tooth is correctly in place. Gently hold the tooth in place by gently biting down on gauze so that it doesn't come out again.
Step 3: See a dentist immediately.
Waiting to see a dentist is not the way to save your tooth. If your regular dentist can't fit you in, or if it is after hours, contact an emergency dentist such as Hernandez Dental right away. You'll need a dentist to reattach and secure your tooth as soon as possible after the injury in order for your gums to begin the much-needed healing process.
A Few Final Thoughts
Place a cold compress on the outside of your jaw to help reduce swelling. Gently apply pressure with gauze on the gum to stop the bleeding. Because other issues like broken roots and infection are also a concern with knocked out teeth, make an emergency appointment with a dentist right away.