If you’ve ever seen “emergency dental services” on a dentist’s list of services offered, you may have wondered what’s considered to be an emergency. One of the most common is losing a tooth.
Having a tooth knocked out, whether you’re an adult or a child, can be a traumatic experience. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll lose that tooth. In fact, if you act quickly, it’s entirely possible that your dentist can replant the tooth. Here are some simple steps to follow should you or your child lose a tooth:
- Locate the lost tooth right away. Once you find it, pick up the lost tooth by the chewing surface. Do NOT pick up the tooth by the root. (Note that if the tooth has broken off of the root – in other words, if the root is still implanted in the socket but the tooth has broken off – chances are, the tooth won’t be able to be saved.)
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse it off gently. Don’t scrub the tooth, don’t use soap, and don’t wrap the tooth in tissue or cloth since that will dry off the tooth, and you’ll need to keep it moist.
- Try to reposition the tooth back in its socket, if you can. If this is too painful, don’t do it. But if you can do it, it’s the best way to preserve the tooth until you get to the dentist. Keeping the tooth moist is important, and accomplishing this with your own saliva is the best way to do that. You’ll probably need to hold it in place in the socket until you can get to the dentist.
- If you can’t reposition it in the socket, that’s okay – it may still be saved. You’ll just need to keep it moist. The best way to do that is to put it in a small glass of milk.
- See your dentist right away. Remember that it’s very important to act quickly, so you’ll need to visit your dentist within 30 minutes of losing the tooth.
Nobody wants to lose a tooth, but it’s a common occurrence for kids and adults alike, especially those who engage in any kind of contact sports. The good news is that often the tooth can be saved, as long as you get to the dentist in time. That’s why it’s so important to choose a dental professional who offers emergency dental services.