A knocked out tooth is one of the most common types of dental trauma. A tooth can be knocked out due to an accident, sports injury, or a fall. The experience can be frightening, but the good news is that if you act quickly, there’s a good chance your tooth can be saved.
What To Do If Your Tooth Gets Knocked Out
If your tooth is knocked completely out of the socket, the first thing you need to do is handle it carefully to avoid damaging it. Pick up the tooth by the crown and avoid touching the root. Plug the drain of your sink and gently rinse the tooth in lukewarm water. Put the tooth back in the socket if you can and bite down on some sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If you can’t get the tooth back in the socket, put it in a container of milk.
Call Elite Endodontics of NH right away at 603-882-5455 for our Hudson office or 603-628-2891 for our Hooksett office. During regular office hours we will see you as soon as possible. If you reach our after hours voicemail, please follow the instructions for emergencies and someone from our office will contact you promptly to address the situation.
How Long Do I Have To Save The Tooth?
We have the best chance of saving a knocked out tooth if we can treat it within 30 minutes. This is why we recommend that you call us right away, even if our office is closed. Once the tooth is out of the socket for more than 30 minutes it begins to dry out and break down. The blood vessels and nerves inside the tooth will die and the tooth will no longer have any sustenance.
How is a Knocked Out Tooth Treated?
As long as the tooth is still viable, it can be placed back in the socket. A dental splint is used to stabilize the tooth while the natural support structures heal and reattach to the tooth. The jaw bone, connective tissues, and gums need time to tighten down around the tooth to hold it in place. Once this occurs the dental splint can be removed.
In some cases a tooth may need a root canal after it is placed back in the socket. Force trauma can damage the dental pulp, the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves that sustain the tooth. A root canal involves removing the dental pulp, cleaning out the inside of the tooth, and filling it with a replacement material that prevents infection and allows the tooth to remain in the socket.
Can a Knocked Out Baby Tooth Be Saved?
A primary (baby) tooth that is knocked out cannot be saved. If you attempt to put it back in the socket, it could damage the permanent tooth underneath. A baby tooth that still has the roots intact was not yet ready to be shed naturally and may need a space maintainer to hold the place open for the permanent tooth to come in when it is ready. If the tooth was already loose or if the roots are worn down, it is likely that the permanent tooth is ready to come in and a space maintainer is not necessary.
Call Elite Endodontics Right Away In Case of Dental Trauma
If you or a loved one are experiencing a dental emergency of any kind, please call us right away, inside or outside of normal office hours. Immediate treatment can be the largest determining factor in a successful outcome, especially in the case of a knocked out tooth. At Elite Endodontics of NH we have experience handling dental trauma of all kinds. We understand that this can be a stressful experience, but we provide calm and professional service.